By Andante Okanya
Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye is locked in land dispute with an investments company over a plot of land in Rukungiri town valued at sh200m.
On February 27, Besigye filed a suit at the land division of the High Court in Kampala against the company SIL Investments Limited and another individual Johnstone Kapesha.
Through AF Mpanga Advocates, Besigye claims he is the registered proprietor of the land in question situated on LRV 1833 Folio 5 Plot 9 Rukungiri Road. He however, does not indicate the plot's size.
He wants court to compel the company to return the land title, and desist from claiming ownership of the land. He says the land is valued at sh200m.
In his affidavit, Besigye explains the genesis of his woes, stating that in June 1998, Kapesha sought his assistance to boost his (Kapesha’s) business in Rukungiri town.
Besigye states that he wrote to the manager of Co-operative Bank Rukungiri branch, requesting for an application for a bank guarantee for a sum of sh10m. The money was intended to help Kapesha and a one Elias Bahati. The bank is now defunct.
“At the request of the second defendant (Kapesha), the plaintiff (Besigye) executed a power of Attorney appointing the second defendant and Bahati his lawful attorneys and on behalf of the plaintiff, to take possession of and use of the Certificate of Title for the suit property for purposes of securing a facility from Co-operative Bank,” Besigye asserts.
Court documents show that on July 10, 1998, Kapesha applied for the loan, which was subsequently approved on July 30, 1998.
The loan was then granted after the Certificate of Title had been deposited with the bank on August 20, 1998.
Besigye notes that Kapesha defaulted on payment in 1999. He asserts that in the same year, the bank was placed under receivership of the central bank, and subsequently closed.
At the time of the bank’s closure, Kapesha was indebted to the tune of sh5.9m. Besigye asserts that Kapesha did not make any further payments, which effectively endangered suit property.
Fast forward on February 10, 2009, SIL Investments registered a caveat on the suit property on behalf of the defunct bank.
Besigye laments that company has vigorously demanded that he pays the debt, and has threatened to evict his tenants, some of whom have since vacated, resulting in financial loss.
He is baffled that the company has made no effort to pursue Kapesha. Additionally, he claims the company through its agent Pearl Inter Agencies, has made radio announcements inviting bids for the sale of the land through auction by private treaty.
Court has fixed March 17 as hearing date for an application for temporary injunction to block the sale of the land, pending the determination of the main case.
The defendants are yet to respond. The hearing date of the main case is yet to be fixed.