The High Court in Kampala has issued a directive for the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to compensate the family of the late Sir Apollo Kaggwa for the fraudulent and illegal subdivision of their 14.31-acre land in Munyonyo. Land Division Judge Alexandra Nkonge Rugadya delivered this decision on Thursday.
In 2014, Solomon Luwalala, David Muyise, and Apollo Wasswa Basudde filed a lawsuit against ULC, seeking orders and declarations that the property in Block 255, plot 98, and 97 Kyandondo belonged to the late Sir Apollo Kaggwa. They also requested the cancellation of all transfers, plots subdivided from the land, and associated titles.
The court heard that the applicants are beneficiaries of Sir Apollo Kaggwa, who passed away in 1927. He owned several properties, including the disputed land leased by ULC to the Registered Trustees of Kampala and private developers on a 99-year lease.
The applicants argued that the land, according to a microfilm report from the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, was in the deceased’s ownership as of July 5th, 2013. However, it was later discovered that it was converted from MRV 243 Folio 23 and subdivided into plots 97 and 98 of Block 255, then registered in ULC’s name. The land has also been affected by the construction of the Entebbe Expressway.
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. They asked the court to declare ULC’s alleged fraudulent acts of subdividing and registering the land as illegal.
In its defense, ULC contended that the applicants had no cause of action, having lawfully obtained registration of the property. They argued that multiple transactions had occurred concerning the land, not reflected in the microfilm report.
During the hearing, ULC did not appear, and when written submissions were requested, only the applicants submitted theirs.
Justice Nkonge ruled that the disputed land rightfully belonged to the estate of the late Sir Apollo Kaggwa, making ULC a trespasser, and thus, the transactions on the land were deemed illegal.
While the court did not cancel the titles of third parties involved in the transactions, Justice Nkonge ordered compensation for the suit land. The amount will be assessed by the Chief Government Valuer and must be paid within 60 days following the assessment report. The judge also awarded costs of the case to the family.