Court clears two city businessmen in the contentious purchase of a 561-acre piece of land in Wakiso district.
By Andante Okanya
KAMPALA - The Land Division of the High Court in Kampala has cleared two city businessmen in the contentious purchase of a 561-acre piece of land in Mpeggwe village, Kakiri sub-county, Wakiso district.
Justice Andrew Bashaija dismissed the suit filed by Jackson Kikonyogo on the technicality that it is barred by the law, as it was filed late.
Section 5 of the Limitation Act stipulates that a query on a land dispute has to be filed in court within 12 years from the date of the purported forgery.
The suit was against city businessmen Mike Mawejje and Justus Katesigwa, a one Joseph Lwanga and the commissioner land registration.
Kikonyogo filed the case on June 1, 2012.
But registration of the chunk of land, located on block 153 plot 5, was effected by Lwanga on April 27, 1988 – which is 24 years later.
Kikonyogo purported that the land title was stolen from his father Eryeza Wangabo and changed by Lwanga. He claims he is the administrator of the estate of his grandfather Musa Serukwaya.
Justice Bashaija's ruling on Tuesday was on the prompting of a preliminary point of law raised earlier by one of the businessmen's lawyers, David Ssempala, to the effect that it was time barred and defective.
"For the foregone reasons, the instant suit is statute barred and the plaintiff cannot obtain a relief as against the first defendant [Lwanga]. It would be purely academic pursuing the case as against the second [Mawejje] and the third [Katesigwa] defendants who got registered on the land subsequent to the first defendant,” the judge ruled.
Lawyer David Sempala (L) informing one of the people from Mpeggwe village that Katesigwa and Mawejje have won the case. (Photo credit: Peter Busomoke)
The division's registrar, Esther Nambayo, delivered the judge's ruling in the presence of the businessmen and their other lawyers Muhammed Golooba and Denis Kakeeto. Kikonyogo was absent.
Justice Bashaija awarded costs to the businessmen for expenses incurred in pursuing the case. However, their lawyers will have to make a detailed compilation of costs, subject to taxation by court.
‘Futile and moot to proceed’
Also present were lawyers Musa Nsimbe and Fred Mugerwa from the firm Kavuma Kabenge and Company Advocates, representing real estate dealer Jomayi Property Consultants.
Haji Musa Muyingo, the field manager of another real estate dealer Sema Properties, was also at court.
The judge also noted that Kikonyogo's query equally fails the test, even when the substance of the case is scrutinized.
"It would be noted that the suit land was mortgaged by the first defendant [Lwanga] to Uganda Commercial Bank [then], and when he defaulted on the loan, the liability was taken over [in1990] by Non-Performing Assets Recovery Trust [NPART]," the judge noted.
Adding: "NPART then sold the suit land to the second [Mawejje] and the third [Katesigwa] defendants. It would be futile and moot to proceed with the case against them, particularly knowing well that they got registered on the suit property after purchasing it subject to a mortgage.”
Speaking outside court shortly after delivery of the judgment, the two businessmen said their patience had yielded fruits.
Their counterclaim suit for fraud against Kikonyogo is still pending at the court.
Nsimbe explained that whoever purchased plots of land from the businessmen, Jomayi and Sema, is free to use the land since Kikonyogo's claim has been dismissed.
Court clears businessmen in Wakiso land deal