The High Court in Kampala has ordered Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to compensate the family of the late Sir Apollo Kaggwa for having fraudulently and illegally subdivided their land measuring 14. 31 acres in Munyonyo.
This decision was delivered by the Land Division Judge Alexandra Nkonge Rugadya on Thursday.
In 2014, three people namely Solomon Luwalala, David Muyise and Apollo Wasswa Basudde sued the ULC seeking orders and declarations among others that the property comprised in Block 255 plot 98 and 97 Kyandondo is the property of the late Sir Apollo Kaggwa. They also sought cancellation of all the transfers, plots subdivided out of the said land as well as the titles .
The court heard that the applicants are beneficiaries of Sir Apollo Kaggwa who died in 1927 and he owned several properties including the land in contention which ULC leased to the Registered Trustees of Kampala and private developers on a 99 year lease.
They said by July 5th 2013, the suit land was in the proprietorship of the deceased, according to the micro film report from the ministry of lands Housing and Urban Development, but to discover later that if was converted from MRV 243 Folio 23 and subdivided into plots 97 and 98 of Block 255 and then registered in ULC’s names. The land has also been traversed by Entebbe Expressway according to the evidence before court.
That the Administrator General took out letters of administration over the estate on May 28th 2012 and on May 21st 2014 powers of attorney were granted to the plaintiffs. As such, they asked Court to declare that ULC alleged fraudulent acts of subdividing the suit and illegally registering itself thereon as proprietor.
They sought for damages for trespass and 300 million shillings saying it would place them in a position that they would have been if they had not suffered the wrong.
However, in its defense, ULC told court that the applicants had no cause of action against it having lawfully obtained registration of the suit property. They added that several transactions had since been carried out in respect of the suit land which were not shown by the micro film report relied on by the applicants.
They asked Court to dismiss the suit and did not turn up at the hearing and when parties were asked to file written submissions, only the applicants did so.
In her decision, Lady Justice Nkonge has ruled that the land in dispute belongs to the estate of the Late Sir Apollo Kaggwa which clearly made ULC a trespasser to the land and therefore the transactions on the land in dispute were illegal.
“The plaintiffs (family) succeeded in proving their case against the defendant (ULC). However, since the third parties were not made parties to the suit or invited to testify as witnesses, it would be contrary to the rules of natural justice to have their titles cancelled. I would however allow the prayer for compensation of the suit land,” said Nkonge.
According to Nkonge, the value of the amount payable as compensation shall be assessed by the Chief government valuer and shall be paid within 60 days following the report on the assessment.
The Judge has also awarded the family costs of the case.