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Zziwa Ranch owner petitions court over land

By Charles Etukuri

Added 3rd October 2018 04:31 PM

Captain Roy has indicated that the directives given by the arbitrator Jackline Lule of Lule and Company Advocates were not only illegal, but unenforceable.

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The Rhinos at the ranch

Captain Roy has indicated that the directives given by the arbitrator Jackline Lule of Lule and Company Advocates were not only illegal, but unenforceable.

Captain Charles Joy Roy, the man at the center of the reintroduction of Rhinos to Uganda and is on the verge of losing his 16,000 acres which he donated to the project has petitioned the Commercial Court to urgently review the decision by an arbitrator barring him from accessing his own property.

In the petition to Justice David Wangutusi, who is the head of the Commercial Court, Captain Roy has indicated that the directives given by the arbitrator Jackline Lule of Lule and Company Advocates were not only illegal, but unenforceable.

In her ruling Lule has barred Captain Roy or any of his agents from accessing his own property registered in his own names and also blocked him from ejecting a South African national Angela Genade, who is the managing director of the Rhino Fund who he accuses of defaulting on her rent payment for 10 years.

In an interview with New Vision, Omongole Anguria of Omongole and Company Advocates, the law firm representing Captain Roy told us that his clients have been denied access to the ranch by the Police, who are illegally deployed.

“Even after bringing the matter to the attention of the director of operation in the Uganda Police force, no action has been taken,” Omongole said.

Documents availed to New Vision indicate that the Commercial Court had in 2017 declined to issue an injunction to Genade barring Captain Roy from evicting her, but she opted to use the Arbitrator who is much lower to obtain the orders.

Last week, Saturday Vision published details of a story which indicated that the fate of over 24 endangered Southern White Rhinos species only found at the Zziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch, appeared to hang in balance following a conflict between the owners of the land, who were also the founders of the project and the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), who are currently managing it.

The conflict over the management of the ranch was between Genade and its original owner Captain Roy.

Documents show that, RFU was formed as a non-governmental organisation in 1997 by a one Yvonne, who reportedly convinced Roy to reintroduce Rhinos in Uganda after they had been wiped out by poachers.

A management team was then appointed later that year to oversee and guide the implementation and management of RFU to achieve its aim of reintroducing Rhinoceros, a highly endangered species across the globe, back into the National Parks of Uganda through a breeding and release programme.

Out of this, emerged the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which Roy granted 7,000 hectares (16,000 Acres). A land usage license was agreed on between RFU and Roy, giving RFU sole usage rights for a period of 30 (renewable) years. The first six rhinos were introduced to this habitat during 2005/2006.

In an interview, Bonnie Wendy, who is the daughter of Roy, said in 2002, they were approached by Yvonne, who introduced to the family the idea of reintroducing Rhinos to Uganda and have them housed at the ranch.

“She persuaded my father to become a conservationist and then he had to buy another ranch in Kiryana in order to relocate over 7,000 animals from the current home of Rhinos, at his own cost,” Wendy said.

Roy subsequently built a perimeter fence at Nakitooma, where the current Rhinos are being kept and also organised an international fundraising for an electric fence.

He also transferred the initial four  Rhinos from Kenya and another two from the US. Roy and his family became part and parcel of the initial board and recruited the previous four Executive directors of RFU and was key in decision making.

Documents seen by Saturday Vision indicate that in 2010, Roy gave a concession agreement to D&D International, a company owned by Genade, to operate a  lodge and they were supposed to pay 10% of gross income and 10% from the restaurant to him.

They were also required to pay another 10% from accommodation and 10% from the restaurant as contribution for the welfare of the Rhinos. Roy’s lawyers from Omongole & Co.

Advocates said that D&D never paid any coin to them and proceeded to create another company, Amuka Limited, to run the activities of the lodge.

“The issues of non-payment forced Roy to terminate the concession with RFU and D&D in November 2017. Angela challenged the termination and run to arbitration as provided for by the agreement,” Omongole told Saturday Vision.

In November 2017, Genade placed a caveat on the 16,000 acre of land and also attempted to convert her tenancy into a lease, which Roy’s lawyers say was a fraudulent act. Efforts to get a comment from Angella proved futile.

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