In Africa, Finance crimes and Corruption should be treason charges:

 

The state of Uganda seems busy with political treason charges:

Political Opponents are denied bail and stay longer in jail:

 

August 23, 2018

 

Written by Baker Batte Lule

 

Treason, over the years, has become government’s preferred charge of choice against many of its harsh critics.

Though the charge usually doesn’t provide an easy path to a conviction – government however, has used it to good effect to keep its opponents longer in jail and on trial.

 


A week after MPs were arrested in the West Nile district of Arua, and spirited off into military detention where they were tortured, lawyers and opposition leaders have denounced the treason charges levelled against them as political persecution.

 


MP Bobi Wine is the latest politician to be charged with treason. Photo: cfcpac.org

 

They told The Observer this week that the State loves to slap trumped-up treason charges for pure political harassment. Julius Galisonga, a human rights lawyer, said that the desired objective is to keep people in prison as a punishment before conviction.

“Ordinarily with capital offences there is a period of time you must remain on remand before even the hearing of the case can start or applying for bail; this is what those who prefer such charges are after,” Galisonga said.

On August 13, MPs; Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu a.k.a Bobi Wine, Francis Zaake, Gerald Karuhanga, Paul Mwiru, Kassiano Wadri and 30 others were arrested in the heat of the Arua municipality by-election.

Bobi Wine is emerging as an effective mobiliser, thrice helping to defeat President Museveni’s candidates beginning with his own spectacular, landslide by-election victory in Kyadondo East.

He and the others were viciously attacked and taken by the Special Forces Command (SFC), the elite force which protects the president.

Save for Kyagulanyi who was charged in the military court martial for unlawful possession of military hardware and Zaake who is in a coma, the other 33 three appeared in the Gulu chief magistrates court. A charge of treason was read out against them. Today, August 23 Kyagulanyi was also charged with treason in the same court.

There is still lack of agreement on what triggered the mayhem but supporters of Wadri, who won this contest with Bobi Wine’s support, are reported to have thrown stones at the convoy of President Museveni on the eve of poling day.

What followed after the president left town, was an indiscriminate retaliatory attack on unarmed civilians by SFC troops. Yasin Kawuma, Kyagulanyi’s driver, was shot dead.

Why government likes it?

Treason charges have been preferred against many real or perceived opponents of Museveni ever since he shot his way to power in 1986.

It became a pet charge with the emergence of Col. (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye as a formidable opponent in the last 18 years.

Besigye was first charged with treason in 2005, barely a month before the acrimonious 2006 general election. The former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) founding leader was accused together with 22 others, including his brother Musasizi Kifefe, of belonging to the shadowy People’s Redemption Army (RPA).

Musasizi died in prison. Ten years later in 2016, Besigye was again arrested and remanded for close to six months for swearing himself in after the 2016 elections he claims he won.

FDC man Michael Kabaziguruka, the Nakawa MP who himself is facing two treason cases; one in the magistrate court and the other in the General Court Martial, agrees that treason charges are being abused for political reasons.

“I was arrested in 2012 and charged with treason but as we speak, I have never been committed to the High court for trial. But before they could even finish prosecuting that case, I was arrested again and this time charged in the military court martial on the same grounds. The president claimed I wanted to kill him,” Kabaziguruka said.

When he was first arrested, Kabaziguruka was locked up for four months. Likewise in 2016 he was held in Kigo prison for four months until High Court judge Yasin Nyanzi granted him bail.

“The head of state said publicly that I tried to assassinate him; that the UPDF will not release me. In the military when the head of state makes such a statement you don’t expect Gen Andrew Gutti [GCM chairman] to give me a fair hearing. The purpose of this charge is really to put you out of circulation and cause inconveniences,” Kabaziguruka says.

Betty Nambooze Bakireke, now MP for Mukono municipality, was kidnapped in 2009 while still the head of the Buganda Kingdom’s Central Civic Committee campaigning against a proposed change in the land law. Nambooze was held in several prisons across the country on charges of terrorism and treason.

“Museveni is very petty; he picks on big cases so that he can keep you in prison for years. The time you spend in police custody or on remand is a punishment in itself because he knows he has no case against you,” Nambooze said.

The Mukono MP is still recovering from injuries inflicted upon her by the SFC soldiers who attacked parliament last year.

When she was produced in court, the 2009 charges had been reduced to sedition. Nambooze says that her captors told her she would only be released if she accepted to meet the president.

“What made the president drop these charges was because he was put under a lot of pressure from Mengo to release us. I have been on bail since then but I no longer report back to court and nothing has happened,” Nambooze says.

“It’s very shameful that courts of law have been used as tools of oppression. They use these charges to make you permanent prisoners. The aim is to hold you for a long time and restrict your movement.”

Officials from the directorate of public prosecutions and attorney general’s chambers couldn’t be reached for a comment. Police spokesman Emilian Kayima declined an interview.

The legal opinion

Laudislaus Rwakafuzi, a human rights lawyer who has defended many against treason, agrees with Nambooze and Kabaziguruka.

“Treason is a grave offence…it is very hard to get bail hence keeping your opponents out of the way through the courts. They will tell you that it’s the court that has remanded you yet actually it’s the executive that has remanded you,” Rwakafuzi says.

Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, the executive director of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, observes that because of the seriousness of the charge, it has a chilling effect on the individual and his or her entire network.

“It is intended to subdue that person such that he is no longer seen to assert him/herself,” he said.

“The charge should be used sparingly. Actually, we have a Constitutional Court petition that will be heard in September challenging the powers of the DPP to charge somebody who is expressing him/herself with treason; that sort of charge amounts to abuse of office,” Ssewanyana said.

He pointed out that treason cases take a lot of time before the state either loses interest or one is acquitted.

“It effectively puts the individual under the custody of the state and it’s hard to get bail because with such a case you can only get a mandatory bail after 180 days. The charge doesn’t only disfavour an individual but puts him/her at the whims of the state,” Ssewanyana said.

All three men that the state doesn’t prefer treason charges with intent to convict, but rather to secure victory over an opponent.

Galisonga adds that because the standard of proof is set at beyond reasonable doubt, requiring irrefutable evidence, 95 per cent of the treason cases either suffer a still birth or end up in acquittals.

“Treason involves actions that are not known to very many people unless one person confesses that indeed he had engaged in treasonous activities it very hard to prove,” Galisonga said. The burden of proof is on the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt all the elements of the offence. The accused can even opt to keep quiet throughout the trial. He doesn’t have to prove his innocence.

It is for this reason, the lawyer added, that government is now dragging people before military courts where orders from the commander in chief could override evidence.

“It is the court martial that can only convict people on such cases but their ruling would also be overturned on appeal in the civil courts,”Galisonga opines.

Rwakafuzi adds that in some of the cases he has handled, the state abandons the cases because they have no faith in the charges.

“Museveni is jittery; he doesn’t want if there is another election to have this group from Kampala to go to the villages because when they go, they give the villagers hope and confidence to vote against the status quo. So, he is doing this so that nobody else tries; I can assure you if there is another by-election, very few people will go there,” Rwakafuuzi says.

Kabaziguruka remembers meeting a one Africa Gabula who has been in prison for over 15 years after he was convicted of treason.

“He was lied to that they would give him a very lenient sentence if he pleads guilty. I was told he is one of the very few people who have ever been convicted of treason,” Kabaziguruka said.

“The ingredients of proving such an offence were really tightened so that you don’t wake up and think court will convict someone just like that.”Kabaziguruka said.

What is treason?

Section 23 of the Penal Code Act, the collection of laws setting out criminal offences in Uganda and their punishment, states that a person commits treason when he/she; (a) levies war against the Republic of Uganda; (b) unlawfully causes or attempts to cause the death of the President or, with intent to maim or disfigure or disable, unlawfully wounds or does any harm to the person of the President, or aims at the person of the President any gun, offensive weapon, pistol or any description of firearm, whether it contains any explosive or destructive substance or not; (c) contrives any plot, act or matter and expresses or declares such plot, act or matter by any utterance or by any overt act in order, by force of arms, to overturn the government as by law established.

The section further states that a person also commits treason when he/she aids or abets another person in the commission of treason, or becomes an accessory before or after or conceals acts of treason.

The section describes death as the punishment.

Section 23 (2) states that any person who forms an intention to compel by force or constrain the government as by law established to change its measures or counsels or to intimidate or overawe Parliament; or instigate any person to invade the Republic of Uganda with an armed force and manifests any such intention by an overt act or by any utterance or by publishing any printing or writing, commits treason and is liable to death if convicted.

Section 23 (3,4) further note that a person also commits treason if he /she incites any person to commit an act of mutiny or any treacherous or mutinous act; incites any such person to make or endeavour to make a mutinous assembly, attempts to seduce any person serving in the armed forces or any member of the police force or prison services or any other security service, by whatever name called to withdraw from his or her duty and allegiance to the Constitution. Such persons are also liable on conviction to suffer death.

bakerbatte@observer.ug 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Uganda government is trying with much difficulty to fight corruption?

 

It has hit a wall in its fight against corruption:

 

The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja (left) and minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo (right) during a workshop to discuss the amended Leadership Act, 2017, in Kampala on Wednesday. PHOTO BY STEVEN OTAGE

 


5 August, 2018

 

By Isaac Mufumba

 

On Wednesday during a workshop to discuss the amended Leadership Act 2017, it was announced that public servants and politicians will with effect from March next year be required to disclose the cash they have at hand when declaring their wealth to the government ombudsman.


“We have realised that several public servants and leaders do not declare their actual amount of money. We have now introduced a requirement to declare your cash at hand. People are keeping their money at home, offices and in ceilings. We shall demand one to declare cash starting from Shs5m and above,” Mr Amos Baguma, an officer attached to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), told the workshop.


We are once again at that point when we ask questions around this law. Is it good? Is it practical? Will it deliver?
“It is a good move, but the practicability and enforceability are the issue. It is very much dependent on the goodwill of the individuals concerned and the whistle-blowers. Otherwise how will the IGG know that someone has a lot more cash than the person is declaring?” wonders the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition, Ms Cissy Kagaba.


Latest in a series of moves
Wednesday’s declaration is only the latest in a series of moves that have been made in the name of fighting corruption.
In July 2011 ministry of Finance officials attempted to sneak a law that would have required anybody making a purchase of land or any property worth Shs50 million and more to declare his/her source of income to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
At some point there was talk about a lifestyle audit to weigh public servants expenditures against their incomes.


In March this year URA wrote to commercial banks directing them to submit details of their customers for purposes of tax assessment. In June, while delivering his 2018 State-of-the-Nation address, President Museveni announced the formation of a State House-based Anti-Corruption Unit, to which he said the public could report cases of corruption.


Early in July the ministry of Lands issued new guidelines that require both the seller and buyer of land to make a physical appearance at its offices and state the prices at which the land was bought and provide proof of payment in the form of a bank deposit slip before land titles can be transferred.


The moves on the part of the ministry of Finance and URA were shot down by Parliament amid questions about their legality and the impact that they would have on the economic landscape. The legality of Mr Museveni’s Anti-Corruption Unit and the directives of the ministry of Lands are now being questioned and it is highly likely that they too, shall be shelved.
One now wonders why the fight has come down to the President and government agencies being compelled to consider making moves that border on illegality in the name of fighting corruption. Have we as a country been boxed so tightly into a corner in this fight that we cannot come up with a working solution?


Ms Kagaba believes that the fight has been lost. She argues that while Uganda has many good laws that would have been used to stump out corruption, they have not been put to good use. This, she says, explains why there are many moves being made in the name of fighting corruption.


“We are merely firefighting. There is no political goodwill to fight corruption. Is starts with the lawmakers,” she says.
Ms Kagaba argues that she had appeared before the Parliaments’ Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and made a case for introduction in the Leadership Code a provision that would require the assets of spouses and children of public servants and politicians declared, but legislators shot the idea down.


She accused MPs of selfishness, accusing them of only passing pieces of legislation that do not directly affect them, which Parliament’s director of communications, Mr Chris Obore, does not agree with, saying her comments are speculative.
“Laws have to be aligned to the Constitution and are passed after many considerations, including the rights of individuals.
Many times MPs do consultations with many groups. Laws could be passed the way they are because of the feedback from those consultations,” Mr Obore said in defence of Parliament.
So where does all this leave the country?
“It is a lost fight. We need genuine action from the President. Otherwise coming up with many laws will not help,” Ms Kagaba says.


Senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama is quick to leap to the defence of his boss, saying most of the anti-graft laws including the Leadership Act and institutions such as the IGG are Mr Museveni’s brainchild, but that the President should not be expected to run around supervising those agencies.


“The President has severally been forced to take action which naturally would have been done by agencies mandated to fight graft. Isn’t it the President who got Ministry of Finance officials arrested for seeking bribes? Isn’t it the President who suspended his minister for Labour and ordered his prosecution over claims of bribery? What do you call that if it is not proactive action from the President?” he argues.


Yes. One has to give it to Mr Museveni that he has been quite proactive, but for as long he and government agencies seem to be groping in the dark about how to nail it, whether the country has been run into a corner in the fight against corruption will remain a mouthful of a question. 

 

 

 

 

 


The landless central government of Uganda has paid tax payers money to the tune of Shs7b in a suspected land scam on Buganda State territory:

 

 

Objected move. Mr Keith Muhakanizi. He wrote to
Mr Keith Muhakanizi. He wrote to the Undersecretary in the ministry of Finance stopping the payment before issues on the said land were settled. FILE PHOTO

 

22 July, 2018

 

By Stephen Kafeero

 

UGANDA, BUGANDA, Kampala:

Just hours to the close of the 2017/2018 financial year, officials in the ministry of Finance paid about Shs7b for land whose ownership is still the subject of contest at the ministry of Lands and for which warnings against payment had been issued.
If the money had not been paid out on June 30, 2018, the law would have required that it is sent back to the Consolidated Fund, meaning the deal would perhaps have collapsed.
Even after the money was paid, the land that was supposedly bought is still a subject of arbitration at the Lands ministry, and Saturday Monitor has learnt that a hearing to determine the true owner was held on July 18, more than two weeks after the land was paid for by government.
The scheme is said to include ministers, officials at the ministry of Lands, the ministry of Finance and its agencies, lawyers and other private citizens who reportedly used insider information and their positions to see the deal through.


Two titles
We have seen copies of two separate land titles for the same land – the land in question – comprising of Busiro Block 535-540, Plots 161, 162, 208 483, 326, in Buwaya (Namugala and Lulongo-Ssazi) Wakiso District.
One title belongs to Augustine Bukenya Muwulizi, Robinson Matovu, Eric Ngoye Makumbi and Judith Nalubega, who are administrators of the estate of the late Samwiri Kironde [Caused No. 1078 of 2015 of the High Court). These are represented by Ajungule & Company Advocates.
The other title, which the administrators of Kironde’s estate claim is a forgery, belongs to a former senior officer with the Air Force, Col (rtd) Dick Lutaaya and Paul Bukenya, who are represented by Katende Ssempebwa & Company Advocates.
The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) has, according to sources and documents seen by Saturday Monitor, taken interest in the case and commenced investigations into the same following a July 6 petition to the organisation.
The attention of the Inspectorate of Government was also drawn to the issue, on similar grounds, according to a July 11 petition, a copy this newspaper has seen.
Others who have been petitioned include the President’s office, the Finance minister, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister and the commissioner of land registry.
Saturday Monitor understands that ISO boss Col Kaka Bagyenda has since deployed four military guards to safeguard Richard Mutatiina, a retired soldier, who blew the lid on the deal.
Asked about the matter and whether he sanctioned protection for Mr Mutatiina, Col Bagyenda said: “Well, I have got many departments, I don’t know if they have received any information but investigation is part of our game. So, what is so special about this?”
When we put it to Col Bagyenda that the information we have indicated that he had personally handled the matter, and that he had given the whistleblower security after his life had been threatened, he said: “I don’t want to be in your papers these days…” He hung up.
Mr Mutatiina confirmed that he raised the alarm on the deal and that his life has since been under threat. He said he was once kidnapped over the matter.


The issue
The land in question was sold to the Uganda Free Zones Authority (UFZA), a corporate body under the supervision of the Finance ministry. The Agency is responsible for the “establishment, development, management, marketing, maintenance, supervision and control of free zones” among other things. This includes identifying and mapping areas to be declared as “free zones”.
In a July 6 petition to ISO, it is alleged that Col Lutaaya and Mr Bukenya connived with top officials at UFZA, ministry of Finance and two State ministers to see the deal through.
The petition says a top official at UFZA initiated the agreement of the payment to Col Lutaaya and Mr Bukenya.
Ms Betty Kasimbazi, the Undersecretary at the Finance ministry, authorised the payment through Katende Ssempebwa & Co Advocates, and that the squatters on the land were paid through Kirya & Company Advocates. Investment minister Evelyne Anite and another minister in the Attorney General’s chambers sanctioned the payment.
Earlier, on May 10, Kirya & Company Advocates had written to the executive director of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) on behalf of a one Andrew Muhwezi and Andrew Atwine Besigye, complaining against the land offer submitted by Katende Ssempebwa & Company Advocates. The complainants listed eight reasons, including that there was an intention to sell to the government “non-existent land/certificate of title”.
Before the payment was effected, a deal to settle the squatters (represented by Kirya & Company Advocates) on the land was seemingly reached.
In an interview with this newspaper, lawyer Julius Kirya said they have since abandoned all the claims they had raised against the sellers of the land (represented by Katende Ssempebwa & Co Advocates) after the interests of their clients were taken care of.
“We managed to resolve them [issues] and we don’t have any problem with the transaction. It was handled and they [Kirya’s clients] were compensated. You know kibanja holders basically don’t hold any registered interest in the land. It is at the level of ownership where they are fighting,” Mr Kirya said.
Reports suggest that even the tenants/squatters on the land have never been paid but Mr Kirya says: “They will move [leave the land], by the time government takes over (because) they don’t have any complaint.”


Alleged fraud
The deal reportedly faced another stumbling block when Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Finance ministry Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, stopped the payment after M/s Ajungule & Company Advocates complained. Attorney General William Byaruhanga also reportedly rejected to clear the transaction before further scrutiny.
Two searches, one on May 6, 2016 and another on June 18 this year, were conducted at the Land Registry and both, according to documents seen by this newspaper, returned the administrators of Samwiri Kironde as the registered proprietors of the land. It is these administrators whose protests were ignored and payment in favour of Col Lutaaya and Mr Bukenya as administrators effected.
The 2016 search was authenticated by Mr Haruna Golooba, while this year’s search was signed off by Mr Dan Oundo Malingu on behalf of the commissioner of land registration.
Presented with the information, Mr Muhakanizi first wrote on June 18 in a “loose minute” to Ms Betty Kasimbazi, the Undersecretary in the Finance ministry, directing her not to effect payment. The letter was copied to the Accountant General and UFZA executive director Collin Muhumuza.
“Reference is made to our telephone conversation this morning. A copy of the letter is attached on the procurement of the above land. In view of this contention, please stop payment until we have satisfied ourselves that the land you are going to buy is the real one and has no legal ownership problems. By copy of this letter, I am informing the Accountant General accordingly,” the letter reads, in part.
On June 21, Mr Muhakanizi wrote to Ms Kasimbazi again. This time, the letter was not copied to anyone.
“I am in receipt of correspondences that are raising very pertinent and fundamental questions regarding authenticity of ownership by [Col] Dick Lutaaya and Paul Bukenya, whose land was evaluated as the most suited for a free zone,” the letter reads in part.
He adds: “In light of this, you are advised to look into the claims by the administrators of the estate of the late Samwiri Kironde to establish the legitimacy of their claims to avoid signing a contract and effecting a payment to persons without a right over the land. You are, therefore, required to furnish me with explanations addressing the issues raised by Ajungule and Co. Advocates who represents the said administrators.”
Information available to Saturday Monitor shows that Ms Aisha Kabira, a senior registrar of titles in the Lands ministry was tasked to verify and cancel the fake title. A hearing was consequently set for July 10, 2018, at 9am and was scheduled at the Office of Titles, Kampala.
The payment, made on June 30, did not wait for the July 10 hearing on the authenticity of the title.


Fight not over
Lawyer Sulaiman Ajungule of M/s Ajungule & Company Advocates in an interview with Saturday Monitor, said they were taking steps, including challenging the process in court and petitioning the IGG to get justice for their clients.
“It is quite unfortunate the level of impunity we are experiencing because we tried as much as possible to draw the attention of the UFZA to this. We petitioned the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and we have proof that he tried to stop the payments and that his directive was ignored,” Mr Ajungule said.
We have seen a letter dated July 12, 2018 to the board chairperson of UFZA by Ajungule & Co. Advocates in which they warn UFZA not to inspect the land which they say will amount to trespass.
“Our clients who are registered proprietors of the above described piece of land are aware of your intentions to go for a site inspection for purposes of opening boundaries. Please be informed that this land belongs to our above clients and have never sold the same to anyone,” the letter reads in part.


Prof Frederick Sempebwa told Saturday Monitor:


“This land has been owned by our clients since 2008. As far as our part is concerned, the Lutaayas came here and said they want to bid to sell that land to Uganda Free Zones Authority and they wanted to use our office because the bidding process is technical and requires a firm that has a name. So, we agreed. The prices and so on did not concern us, we just did the technical work, we got the certificate of title, we checked in the land office and the bid process went ahead.
The bidding process started in November last year and due diligence was done.
There were two bids, the first bid process the Lutaayas won and this was after UFZA visited all the sites and deemed theirs most suitable. The other bid was after UFZA had ascertained the title, which was free.
The first bid was cancelled after those who had lost out complained and the whole process was re-advertised. Again, the Lutaayas put in a bid and when it was succeeding, people who had earlier petitioned came up with new matters and brought a list of squatters claiming the bid could not go ahead until they are compensated. The issue of the squatters was resolved and the process went ahead. As the bid succeeded and other people learnt that the payment was going to be made, they came up with a new matter. They came up with a certificate of title with a different plot number purporting to cover our client’s land. Their certificate of title was issued on January 18, 2018. This was long after the procurement process had started and they now claim they are the rightful owners of the land which our client procured in 2008. Those facts you can ascertain.
They know this certificate of theirs is fraudulent because if someone had sold your land, you would run to court fast. You would not run to the IGG, you would be protecting your property.
One title is 2008, another title superimposed because they heard there is money going to be paid in 2018. They should be going to court to say that the Lutaayas sold their land. That is what they should be doing and then the matter will be taken on. As far as the buyers are concerned, they ascertained the land is there, the LCs [Local Councils] are there, they know who the owners of the land are.”


On the search
The first title under the law is the valid title but you cannot come up with a subsequent title over the same land with a separate block number. Under the law, that is impossible because if I have stolen your land, then it is in the record that you are the registered owner. Your reaction would be to go to court.
As we speak, the transfers have been done, so why do you go to the IGG when this land is being sold? How can you of 2018, claim the owner of 2008 stole your land. Where have you been these last 10 years?
In summary, these people should go to court but there has been no petition filed. Since they found out they are not bothered by the court process, instead what they are trying to do is, if I understand them very well, reverse a sale, which will not give them that land. They are fighting a sale of which land is still in our client’s name.
They are tarnishing people’s reputations so that there is an investigation but any investigation which will be supported by documents, which is official, will come to nothing because the bid was straight forward. It was an open bid process (following) proper procurement procedures. And the Lutaayas have been selling this land since 2012. If you own the land there, why didn’t you raise the issue? 

 

 

 

 

 


In Uganda, the officials of the National Armed forces are also fighting with all their mighty to possess civilian commercial lands that were given out at Namanve industrial Park:

 

 

SFC soldier, businessman fight over Namanve land
Both parties claim they bought the land through the right procedures. FILE PHOTO

 


22 June, 2018


By Amos Ngwomoya

 

UGANDA, Kampala. A Special Forces Command (SFC) soldier, Maj Moses Musinguzi, and an investor of Congolese origin, Mr Mumbere Muthamaini, are currently entangled in a land wrangle in Namanve Industrial Park, Daily Monitor has learnt.


The 0.484 hectares land sits on Plot 449 Block 133, Kyaggwe in Namanve, Mukono District. Both parties claim ownership of the land.
The plot is currently being guarded by security operatives.


Documents which Daily Monitor has seen show that both parties are claiming ownership of the land.
Mr Mumbere, through his company of Eagle Traders Ltd, bought the land from Alia Property Developers on January 23, 2018, at $225,000 (Shs860m)


Assumes ownership
The transfer of the land title into his names was made on February 2018 by the Registrar of Titles through a Stanbic Bank mortgage following a successful survey on the land to ascertain its boundaries and ownership.


Documents further show that Alia Properties had acquired the land from Green Hedges Estate Ltd on November 24, 2014. Green Hedges Estate Ltd had acquired the same land from Uganda Investment Authority (UIA). The body oversees the operations at the industrial park.
However, Mr Charles Frederick Otese, Mr Mumbere’s estates manager, said Maj Musinguzi quickly fenced off the land, claiming ownership.


“He [Maj Musinguzi] used the same material we had put on site and he fenced off the land. We later got clearance from authorities to repossess the land but I was arrested and later given a police bond. We bought this land in broad day light after going through a thorough procedures but an army official wants to grab our land with impunity because he works with the President,” Mr Otesse said.

He also claimed that Maj Musinguzi is threatening to cause trouble to him if he does not back off from the land.
However, Maj Musinguzi dismissed the claims, saying he bought the disputed land under clear procedures and got a title from the Uganda Land Commission (ULC).


His documents, copies of which this newspaper has seen, show that his company (Mmacks), acquired the same land from Ms Charlotte Kemigisha on February 8, 2017, at Shs770m. Maj Musinguzi said ULC had leased the land to Ms Kemigisha.
“Those people have their land on a different Block number [111] but they have gone ahead to claim my land, Plot 449 on Block 133 Kyaggwe yet I genuinely bought this land. I am a businessman with a high reputation and I cannot grab any one’s land. They should verify with the person who sold them that land,” he said.


Maj Musinguzi said both he and Mr Mumbere are victims of circumstances of an old land wrangle in Namanve involving government agencies.
Ms Stella Kanyike, the UIA spokesperson, acknowledged the dispute, but she said the land was released to Mr Mumbere, hence he is the legal occupant.

“But then another person has come up with claims of ownership of the same piece of land and he claims that his land title was issued by the Uganda Land Commission in 2016. If this is indeed the case, then there must have been a case of double allocation. We will follow up the matter to establish his claims,” Ms Kanyike said.

Efforts to speak to Mr Dennis Obbo, the Lands ministry spokesperson, to corroborate Maj Musinguzi’s claim were futile as he could not be reached.


Issue before land probe


Eagle Traders Ltd on June 7, petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission into land matters to resolve the impasse. The fight has had other investors to question ownership of land in the industrial park and they have since tasked government to probe all the wrangles to guarantee safety of ownership of the land that they have already acquired.


angwomoya@ug.nationmedia.com