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Bankers under their umbrella organization Uganda Bankers Association have confessed before Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission of inquiry into land matters that they can’t determine what constitutes family land in Uganda. The bankers said are tasking the government to provide a clear definition of what constitutes family land. Section 14 of the Land (Amendment) Act, 2004, defines family land as land where the family home is situated, land that helps sustain the family (such as land for crops or animals or land from which the family earns an income), or land that according to the family’s standards, custom or tradition is called family land. The act demands that spouses seek consent of their partners before carrying out any transaction on family land. Such transactions may include sale, exchange, mortgage or lease. Max Manzi, the Secretary of the Legal Committee of UBA, says they find lots of challenges while dealing with borrowers who provide family land as surety. The group was appearing before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission on Wednesday. Isaac Mpanga, also a member of the Legal Committee of the UBA said they established rigorous measures requiring the consent of both spouses fearing that their transactions could be challenged. He says banks conduct a thorough search to establish whether or not the borrower has a spouse and they have consented to the transaction. The Commission Deputy Lead Counsel, John Bosco Suuza narrated how long it took him to transact on land that the bank defined as family land. Mpanga stressed that it is because of such experiences that government needs to clearly define family land.  The Bank of Uganda Legal Officer, Margaret Kaggwa Kasule also told the Commission that the commercials have already raised the issue of family land with the Central Bank. She said that the law needs to clearly define what constitutes family land so as to guide banks. Kaggwa told the Commission that banks are challenged when it comes to selling off family land when a spouse fails to service their loans. For comments, call or text us on 0752510225.



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