The Court of Appeal in Kampala has temporarily stopped businessman Justus Kyabahwa from auctioning prime Uganda Muslim Supreme Council property to recover Shillings 19.2 billion resulting from a failed land deal.
The panel of three justices including Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, and Irene Mulyagonja, delivered the verdict Thursday morning in response to UMSC’s application for a stay of execution pending an appeal. In their verdict, the justices noted that the attachment orders were marred by irregularity and malice.
They also noted that Kyabahwa’s lawyers failed to conduct due diligence before attaching the listed property including the Gaddafi National Mosque. The justices orally approved the stay but haven’t yet provided the detailed reasons for their decision, which will be delivered later in writing. The UMSC legal team was led by Counsel Musa Kabega and Dr. Adam Kibwanga Makmot.
Other lawyers on the team included counsels Faisal Balikurungi, Abbas Bukenya, and Akram Kyambadde. Kyabahwa’s lawyer, Ahmed Kalule, clarified that the decision doesn’t overturn the High Court’s judgment, emphasizing that UMSC remains indebted. UMSC initially lost at the commercial court and subsequently filed for a stay of execution to prevent the attachment of their properties.
However, a single judge, Christopher Gashirabake, dismissed their application two weeks ago. Unsatisfied with the single judge’s decision, UMSC pursued their application to be heard by a coram of three justices, which has now overturned the ruling, allowing the stay of execution.
On Monday, Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubajje has been dragged to court for alleged fraud in connection with the sale of prime Muslim land located in the midwestern district of Sembabule.
In the case filed before the High Court in Kampala, the Uganda Muslim Lawyers Association Limited are seeking a court declaration that the agreement executed purportedly on behalf of the UMSC was illegal.
The Muslim lawyers say the illegality arises in as far as it contained payment of interest which is prohibited by Sharia Law (Quran and Sunnah), the foundational instrument governing UMSC affairs.
“A declaration that the impugned agreement between the first and fourth defendants (UMSC and Kyabahwa) orchestrated through collusion, connivance, deceit, fraud and a premeditated and coordinated scheme involving the second, third and fourth defendants, was tainted with illegality and was to the detriment of the first defendant and the wider Muslim community who are members of the first defendant and is therefore null and void and unenforceable,” reads the court documents.
Court is also being asked to declare that the filing and prosecution of an earlier matter between Mr Kyabahwa and UMSC was a coordinated and fraudulent litigation scheme.