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Kavuma files defence, denies land grabbing allegations

By Barbra Kabahumuza, Michael Odeng

Added 20th March 2017 08:04 AM

The land in question comprises of plots 1257 and 1258 at Kizungu Zone in Makindye measuring 220ft x 212ft x 160ft

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The land in question comprises of plots 1257 and 1258 at Kizungu Zone in Makindye measuring 220ft x 212ft x 160ft

Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma has denied allegations of land grabbing, saying he bought it in early 1980s from the late Charles Makayu.

He filed his defence before the Land division of the High Court through Tumusime, Kabega & company Advocates.

Kavuma asserts that as the owner of the land, he was at liberty to ward off potential land grabbers like John Sentongo by putting signposts inscribed with words "plot not for sale."

About fortnight ago, Sentongo, a resident of Makindye dragged Kavuma to the same court through M/s KGN Advocates, accusing him of trespassing on his land worth over sh200m.

According to court documents, the land in question comprises of plots 1257 and 1258 at Kizungu Zone in Makindye measuring 220ft x 212ft x 160ft is adjacent to the plot belonging to Kavuma.

When New Vision visited the site recently, they had fenced off the plot with wire mesh. Within the land, still, there were bricks and sand, a possibility of construction work going on.

The land that sits on hilly terrain is sheltered by tress and at a vantage point there is a structure (uniport) for guards hired to watch over the land.

Justice Kavuma says Sentongo is a trespasser on his land and he was entitled to report him to Police for criminal trespass. He adds that Sentongo committed a criminal offence, and that he does not deserve court protection.

"Sentongo is not entitled to any of the reliefs claimed therein and he will be put to strict profile," Kavuma contends. He therefore asked court to dismiss the suit with costs.

Sentongo wants court to evict Kavuma from the said land and also declare that he (Kavuma) trespassed on it.

"I want court to issue a permanent injunction, restraining Kavuma from further acts of trespass on my land," he further requested. He also wants to be awarded damages for trespass and defamation plus interest and costs of the suit.

According to Sentongo, on December 15, 2008, he did purchase the said land from one Obed Kabagambe, who had bought the same from one Mariam Namutebi.

Sentongo says upon purchase of the said land, he applied to Buganda Land Board for a lease and also paid for survey and registration.

However, in March 2016, Sentongo said he noticed a structure (uniport) on the land and a signpost inscribed with words "no trespass".

"When I called the phone number, it was answered by Kavuma, who invited me to his office and I presented to him two agreements and I explained to him how I acquired the land," he avers.

Sentongo says after the discussion, Kavuma reported a case of criminal trespass against him, upon which, he was arrested by Police, detained at Makindye Police Post and later released on bond. He periodically reports to Police, pending investigations.

"Surprised by the arrest, I wrote to Kavuma reminding him of the delivery of agreements of purchase and proof of ownership," he contends.

In September last year, Sentongo asserts that he protested his continued reporting to Police and demanded to either be charged in court or have the file closed, but he was advised to lodge his complaint with the Resident State Attorney of Makindye Court.

But when he approached the state attorney, he was instead advised to write to the Regional Criminal Investigations Department (CIID) officer at Katwe Police Station which he did but in vain.

According to Sentongo, the act of fencing his land by Kavuma without his authority or consent constitutes trespass while words published on the signpost are defamatory.

He says as a direct consequence of Kavuma's action, he has been dragged into a public scandal.

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