By Our Reporters
The Kabaka of Buganda, who recently registered numerous court victories against Male Mabirizi, has continued distinguishing himself as a winning champion when it comes to litigation matters. The latest victim to be thumped in court battle is Mohammed Buwule Kasasa who for years has been claiming proprietorship of the Mutungo land in a manner that is adverse to the king’s own interest. The land in dispute is part of the late Sir Edward Mutesa’s estate and in this case the royal family members directly battling Kasasa include Kabaka’s young brother David Wassajja and Princess Dorothy Nassolo represented by Kibeddi & Co Advocates with another city law firm-Kafeero & Co Advocates. Because of the long running dispute, this 1 square mile land has caveats which constitute an encumbrance. It’s particularized as Block 237 plot 81 and 37 of Kyaddondo. Wassajja & Nassolo are the administrators to the land in question. The duo moved court to swiftly intervene when Buwule was on the verge of being paid Shs2.7bn by NWSC in total disregard of the caveats thereon. Issued by registrar Justine Atukwatsa, the latest order stops a number of government agencies and entities from making generous compensatory payments to Dr. Buwule including the Standard Gauge Railway project and UNRA on whose Southern Bypass project the good old doctor would soon be eligible to being compensated billions as a project affected person. “A provisional order is hereby issued against the 1st respondent [Kasasa], his successors, assignees, agents, servants or workers and/or anyone else claiming for and or on their behalf restraining, prohibiting, stopping and/or preventing him from claiming any compensation/payments from National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda National Roads Authority, Standard Gauge Railway, and any other government institution or agency, selling off and/or transferring of the suit property formerly comprised in MRV 962 Folio19 now comprised in Kyaddondo Block 237 plots 37,39, 29, 48, 56, 67, 59,69,81, 82, 83, 88, 111, 112, 114,115, 142,147, 148, 150, 335,97, 7, 138,103,131, 154, 155, 178, 179, 388, 410, land in Mutungo and Luzira pending the determination of this application inter-parties that is fixed on 30th October 2018,” reads the court order that will be reviewed and possibly extended on 22nd November. Plot 81 which is one of the many subject to this order is the one for which NWSC was on the verge of paying Shs2.7bn. Buwule is also claiming compensations from UNRA’s Sothern Bypass project as well as the Standard Gauge Railway all of which have now been rendered impossible by this blanket court order that is applicable to all the land in the Mutungo Square mile. On October 1, 2018, Mutesa administrators’ lawyers wrote to NWSC management protesting Kasasa’s payment and when they felt ignored they proceeded to court resulting into the latest order. The latest court intervention is one among the many legal battles Dr Kasasa has had with Mutesa estate beneficiaries. In June this year, the Justice Bamugemereire-led land inquiry team intervened and stopped Shs7bn payment Dr. Kasasa was about to receive regarding the Mutungo land. On that occasion there was even Parliament approval for the Shs7bn to be paid out but Bamugemereire weighed in after the Mutesa estate lawyers petitioned her. The Shs7bn was due to land sold to GoU through Uganda Land Commission. It was this same Mutungo land which since 2003 has been part of the court dispute. The Mutesa descendants insist it’s their land and yet even Kasasa (saying he paid a price in 1970s) says it’s his.
WHAT BAMUGEREIRE SAID;
Bamugemereire wrote to PSST Keith Muhakanizi: “The commission has received information that the aforesaid land is the subject of compensation by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) using the Land Fund, where so far Shs2.4bn has been paid, and a further Shs7bn is due for payment today.” Bamugemereire’s commission secretary Dr Douglas Singiza added that: “The purpose of this letter is to halt any further payments for the above-mentioned land as the commission proceeds with investigation into the matter.
The standoff started in 2003 when Kasasa was first taken to court by descendants of Mutesa for illegally possessing their land. Court documents show that land on Block 237 was registered in 1946 in the names of Sir Edward Mutesa II. And the Obote government’s abolition of kingdoms in 1966 created loopholes in the land tenure system that saw several kingdom properties and land belonging to Mutesa II go to the state or individuals. Kasasa’s says that on 13th June 1968 Mutesa’s sister Nnalinnya Victoria Mpologoma sold the land, a claim the Wasajjas dispute. At the time, Mutesa was in UK exile and his estate beneficiaries say he couldn’t have sanctioned the sale because she was not one of the administrators of his estate. But the Kasasas maintain that Nalinya sold it to Paul Kintu who sold it five months later to Lake View Properties Ltd. One version is that this company later mortgaged the title with Barclays bank before Kasasa bought it in 1979 and later subdivided it into several plots. It was in 2003 that the Mutesa estate administrators first lodged a suit in the High court against Kasasa and the Attorney General. They sought to stop all dealings on the said land saying its initial sale was illegal. Nassolo and Wassajja went placed caveats on the various plots, including Plot 81 concerning NWSC. This didn’t stop government (through ULC) from purporting to buy five plots on the land from Mr. Buwule at Shs2.4bn. In 2006, government started paying installments and by November 2007, Sh1.1bn had been paid out. In February 2008, ULC officials sought to clear the remaining balance but the PS Lands Ministry advised against any further payment because the matter was in court. Surprisingly, ULC still executed a sale agreement with Kasasa on September 12, 2008 in spite of fresh warnings from lawyers representing Mutesa estate. The agreement states that the sale was subject to the land being free from any encumbrances. ULC officials claimed to have been cleared by the Solicitor General on September 2, 2008. But in his September 29, 2008 the SG raised concerns and reservations to the effect that the matter was in court. On November 19, 2009, the unrelenting PS yet again questioned the payment of the balance after finding out that there was a caveat. But four days later government paid Kasasa Shs1.3bn as a final installment. On August 23, 2010, the SG wrote to ULC advising it to pay interest to Kasasa in respect to the same land. And so, on October 6 that year, Kasasa demanded Shs8.8bn as outstanding balance. By coincidence, the ULC secretary wrote to PSST requesting that Kasasa be paid the monies. Two years later on January 9, 2012, Wassajja wrote to Attorney General to complain about suspicious improper conduct in the way government was curiously losing money to ensure Kasasa gets paid. He demanded that some public officials need to be investigated as to why Kasasa was being favored this much. The Wassajja protest note was copied to PAC chairperson, the IGG and the High court registrar. Eventually Justice Musalu Musene blocked Kasasa’s efforts to remove the Wassajja caveats on the land. With the court halting payments until the case is disposed of, Kasasa’s Sh7bn claim seemed to have fallen through until May 4 2018 when it was resurrected. Jane Kibirige, the clerk to parliament, wrote to Muhakanizi reminding him of the Parliament’s resolutions on this matter. She referred to the Shs19bn for the Lands Ministry including Kasasa’s Shs7bn for the Mutungo land. Wassajja’s lawyer Muzamil Kibeddi then wrote a letter to Muhakanizi, SG Francis Atooke and the Lands PS to stop the payments on grounds that the matter was still in court. The same was copied to PAC boss Angeline Osege, the IGG and Auditor General John Muwanga. On failing to get remedy, Kibeddi then reported to Bamugemereire who had the guts to stop the Shs7bn payment. All this clearly shows that the NWSC Shs2.7bn saga isn’t the first instance in which Kasasa has fought relentlessly to get hefty compensations off the government projects in relation to the very prime Mutungo land. When contacted, Denis Bugaya (who speaks for BLB that administers Buganda kingdom land) said: “As BLB we can’t comment on that matter because it concerns the personal estate of Sir Edward Mutesa.” He referred us to the lawyers of Mutesa estate administrators. Lawyer Muzamil Kibedi’s known contact was unavailable while George Muhangi of Kafeero & Co. Advocates said: “That matter is before court. What I can assure you is that we obtained court orders barring any payment in respect to the entire block 237. Whoever was planning to make any transactions on the same should put it on hold or else risks contempt of court proceedings.” (Sourced from Red Pepper of Tuesday 6th November 2018).