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How court set in motion Ndeeba church demolition

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Last Monday night brazen demolition of St Peter’s church Ndeeba disrupted the quiet calm of its neighbourhood and that of the entire nation.

That demolition capped a three year protracted battle that was ultimately set in motion by the ruling of Justice John Eudes Keitirima of the High Court Land’s Division on August 06, 2017.

“It was held in the case of Fam International Limited and Ahmad Farah versus Mohamed El Faith [1994] KALR 307 that fraud is such a grotesque monster that the courts should hound it wherever it rears its head and wherever it seeks to take cover behind any legislation. Fraud unravels everything and vitiates all transactions,” Justice John Eudes Keitirima wrote in his judgment dated August 06, 2017.

That judgment written three years ago in one way or the other implicated the former leaders of the Church of Uganda and commissioner land registration in the fraudulent acquisition of a certificate of title comprised on Kibuga block 7 plot number 749.

This land is where St. Peter’s Church Ndeeba was built 40 years ago before it was demolished by men who have since been charged in court. The demolition was done in the wee hours of August 8, 2020, sending the country into pandemonium.

Court records show that Dan Ssemwanga, John Kajoba, Edward Balunga and Steven Nakibinge who are the joint administrators of the late Evelyn Nachwa’s estate went to court in 2008 accusing Lucy Nsubuga, the administrator of the estate of the late Bishop Dunstan Nsubuga, Constance Nalongo Kizito, the administrator of the estate of Esau K. Kizito and Armstrong Kiteesa, the administrator of the estate of Yuda Kitaka, Commissioner Land Registration and the Registered trustees of Church of Uganda of fraudulently
processing the title.

Court records show that while Nsubuga, Kizito and Kiteesa denied having any interest in the land, the commissioner land registration didn’t bother to file a defense despite repeated reminders by court via summons.

For its part, the Church of Uganda’s trustees admitted that Nachwa was the registered proprietor of the land now in dispute until March 3, 1981. And that when she transferred the land to Nsubuga, Kizito and Kiteesa, she ceased to have any interest in the land.

To prove that the special certificate of title was obtained fraudulently, during the hearing of the case, Nachwa’s son Balunga told court that it’s only him and his other three siblings that were appointed as administrators
of their mother’s estate.

He said they came across a letter, which they attached to their case, dated January 25, 1980 written by Nachwa to Barclays bank. Therein, she requested the bank, now called Absa, to receive for safe custody the certificate specified.

The bank received the title and on June 5, 1980 wrote to Nachwa asking her to present herself on issues of her deposited title. Though the administrators of Nachwa’s estate say they retrieved the duplicate certificate of title from the bank, when they attempted to have their names registered on the title as administrators, they found it was registered in the names of Bishop Nsubuga who headed the Namirembe diocese under whose jurisdiction St Peter’s church Ndeeba falls.

The chronology of events, Justice Keitirima ruled, was important to analyze the fraud.

“On the 25 January 1980, Evelyn (Evairini) Nachwa deposited the certificate of title with Barclays bank. On the 16 January 1980 there was an entry endorsed on the title that a special certificate of title was issued since the duplicate was lost, the judge pointed out.

“That this was a space of 10 days before the special certificate of title was issued. That there must be an application of the issuance and the intention to issue and the same should have been advertised for at least 30 days. That by inference Nachwa is said to have applied for a special certificate of title earlier than the date on which the entry was recorded on the title and yet she was in possession of the duplicate certificate of title which was deposited in the bank on the 25 January 1980!”

It was argued by the administrators of Nachwa’s estate that the instrument, the application of special certificate of title and the declaration in support of such application were not available in the office of the commissioner land registration and none was produced in court by way of evidence.

They concluded the no-availability of such documents was apparent evidence that Nachwa didn’t make them and they were clearly forged. The legal team that represented the interests of Bishop Nsubuga’s family essentially distanced the late prelate from all the transactions that led to the registration of the disputed land into the names of Bishop Nsubuga as a joint owner and stated that the signatures attributable to the deceased through the documents relied on by the plaintiffs as having been used to register the same property into his joint names were forged.

Relying on the evidence of Bwanika Eddy, a retired police detective who investigated the case and found that the signatures of Bishop Nsubuga were forged and the lawyer who had executed the transfer forms never met the late Nachwa and that he had never met Bishop Nsubuga, Justice Keitirima had no option but to conclude this scheme was nothing but fraud.

“I agree with counsel of the said defendants’ submission that the fraud has been perpetuated by some unscrupulous people who may have used the defendant’s names especially in light of the fact that apart from the defendant’s names appearing on the special certificate of title there was no evidence to show that they were responsible,” Justice Keitirima ruled.

“The 4th defendant [commissioner land registration] should have been better placed to explain under what circumstances he or she issued the special certificate of title. However, the Commissioner Land registration never filed a defense. It was held in the case of Fredrick J.K. Zaabwe VS Orient Bank Limited and 5 others- S. C.C. A No. 4 of 2006 that failure to defend a suit imputes admissibility. In absence of any explanation by the 4th defendant imputes that he/ she was responsible for this mess.”

CHURCH OF UGANDA CONNECTION

In their written defense, the trustees of the Church of Uganda claimed that Nachwa was the registered proprietor of the land until March 3, 1981 when she transferred it to Nsubuga, Kizito and Kiteesa and consequently ceased to have interest in the land.

The Church denied forging any signature of Nachwa. They said they were not aware of any transaction between Nachwa and Stanley Kigere and Nachwa and Dan Mbowa, which led to sub divisions of the land.

The land, the church’s lawyers argued, was registered in the names of Nsubuga, Kizito and Kiteesa not in their personal capacities but as constructive trustees of the Church of Uganda in accordance with the resolution of the Diocesan Synod of Namirembe Diocese sitting at Namirembe on October 10, 1971.

“At the material time and after the said resolution, it became the practice of the Anglican Church of Uganda to hold the same in trust for the Christians,” they insisted.

Through the Christians of St Peter’s church Ndeeba, the church said, it has been in possession of the land since 1981 and it has carried out several developments.

They include a church building, several houses for the clergy, a washing bay and motor vehicle with full knowledge of Nachwa. During her lifetime, they said, Nachwa never denied having given the land to the Church of Uganda nor challenged its occupation. The church says that after Nachwa passed way, it’s only then that his children started claiming the land and threatened to evict the church.

Justice Keitirima, in his judgment, dismissed the Church’s defense. He said the title of the land shows Bishop Nsubuga, Reverend Y.S Kitaka, E.K Kizito (as Joint tenants) Namirembe Diocese P.O Box 14297, Kampala.

There is nothing on the entry, “the judge ruled “that shows the registration of the three defendants as trustees. That’s why the plaintiffs never initially sued the 5th defendant [Trustees of Church of Uganda] but sued the other defendants because there is nothing to show on the certificate of title that it belonged to the 5th defendant. It was actually the court that ordered the 5th defendant to be joined on the suit when they indicated interest in the suit land.”

The judge further punched holes in the Church’s defense saying the Synod couldn’t appoint Nsubuga, Kizito and Kiteesa as trustees without complying with Trust Incorporation Act CAP 165 section 1 (1).

“Therefore, in absence of evidence of compliance with the said Act, no persons can be registered as proprietors of land and claim to be trustees of a community. The said three defendants were therefore registered individually as proprietors and not as trustees of the suit land since they had not complied with the Trustees Incorporation Act Cap 165.”

The judge who went ahead to order the Commissioner Land Registration to change names of the title into those of Evairini Nachwa.





Source – observer.ug

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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