HOW & WHY CITY LAWYER BARNABAS NDAWULA FELL OUT WITH KABAKA MUTEBI
By Mulengera Reporters
For three years (2015-2018), Barnabas Ndawula served as the head legal for Buganda Land Board and by extension served the legal interests of Buganda King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi. As head legal, Ndawula was supposed to champion the interests of BLB and the Kabaka in several transactions inside and outside of court. He was also tasked with safeguarding Kabaka’s BLB land estate stretching over 1,000 square miles. He served as BLB’s head legal at a time the workaholic Kyewalabye Male was the Managing Director. He would equally be peripherally supervised by others like Peter Mayiga, Prince David Wasajja, Daudi Mpanga and Apollo Makubuya in their capacity as Kabaka’s personal attorneys.
Within just three years, the Kabaka and authorities at Mengo realized Ndawula wasn’t the right person for the job because of indulgence in several curious land-related transactions that caused his loyalty and obedience to be doubted. Ndawula was consequently fired in December 2018 and because it was courteous, not many people got to know about the circumstances. His former employers at Masengere let him go in peace notwithstanding his transgressions that necessitated his unceremonious exit.
Things only soured recently when BLB and Kabaka’s handlers realized that some stakeholders had continued dealing and relating with him under the impression he was still Kabaka’s head of legal affairs at BLB. He appeared in court on a matter that had been on since his days at Masengere and gave evidence in a manner that was seen as being detrimental to BLB his supposed employer. This costly litigation angered many at Mengo prompting the Katikkiro and Kabaka to give their no objection to having a public notice published in the national newspapers alerting the innocent members of the public to deal with him at their own peril since he had ceased working with BLB more than 2 years ago.
The notices were published a few days ago and it’s something that naturally rubbed Mr. Ndawula the wrong way. He responded by fighting back while using his Facebook account to demonize key BLB officials he considers to have participated in drafting and authorizing the message notifying the public he no longer works with Masengere-based BLB. In his Facebook rants, he called them thieves and some social media users (aggrieved with Mengo over totally unrelated things) got excited and jumped on his Facebook rants to register their sympathies. They fallaciously praised him as a courageous whistle blower lifting the veil on some of the powerful officials at BLB.
Mengo insiders say that even the three years Ndawula served at BLB were because of the tolerant and accommodative nature of Kyewalabye Male and not because he was a stellar performer. Actually top management was always under pressure from the Board and the Kingdom leadership to get him out on grounds of his improper actions including being insubordinate and antagonistic to fellow kingdom officials. He one time appeared in court to prosecute a case on behalf of BLB whose claim he weakened and contradicted by disputing the institution’s very important evidence that was contained in a survey report regarding a certain piece of land. He dismissed his client’s surveyor’s report as hopeless during court proceedings and this is something that caused many people to become shocked inside the court room. At another instance, the same Ndawula contradicted the evidence his BLB MD was giving inside court during a public hearing of a matter under which Kabaka’s billions were at stake. Subsequently, Ndawula acknowledged wrongdoing and wrote an apology but all these contradictions kept complicating relationship between him and his superiors at Mengo.
During the Ndawula tenure as head legal, BLB lost colossal sums of money in legal fees and in terms of time and cases of legal fees being inflated became rampant and Kyewalabye’s supervisors as MD in the Board ceaselessly complained questioning why the organization still had to retain such a legal head. Some princes reported to Mutebi about financial gratifications being solicited before their land-related files could be worked on and ratified.
Then came the controversial consent judgment Ndawula inappropriately entered with a claimant who had sued the Kabaka. It was an anomalous act because by entering the controversial consent, Ndawula exceeded his authority as head legal at BLB as the same was the preserve of Peter Mayiga, Daudi Mpanga, Wasajja or any other Mutebi attorney. This related to Civil Suit no 2464 where a one Herbert M Musitwa laid claim to a piece of land the Kabaka/BLB had already leased out to John Mulindwa.
In the end evidence was adduced that Ndawula had no authority to commit the Kabaka into such a counterproductive consent judgment and the same was set aside by court through Misc. Application No 729 of 2019. The subject matter related to Kabaka’s land particularized as Block 273 Plot 4849. A law firm belonging to Bujenje County MP Patrick Kasumba was involved in in this very controversial transaction that shamed Senior Counsel Barnabas Ndawula like never before. Justice Henry Kawesa eventually set aside the consent judgment in his November 2019 ruling and it emerged during the same court hearing that Musitwa had parted with Shs700m to originate and fortify his fraudulent claim over a prime piece of land whose worth was in several billions because of its prime location.
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