1 February 2010

Uganda: Court Orders District to Pay Sh170 Billion

Kampala — THE High Court has ordered Hoima district to pay sh170b in compensation to the former district land board chairman, Yesero Mugenyi.

The district lost the case in which it was accused of fraudulently acquiring Mugenyi's land and building a teacher's college on it in 1995.

The ruling was raised from a case that was filed by Mugenyi in 1996 suing the district administration for using the land without his consent.

In her judgment, Justice Arach Amoko of the High Court, ordered the district to pay the money to Mugenyi as general damages for annoyance and inconvenience.

"The High Court has found that Hoima district administration fraudulently obtained a certificate of title over Mugenyi's land. The court, has therefore, ordered the payment of general damages and compensation in the next six months," the statement read.

The administration was also ordered to compensate Mugenyi for the land on plots 31 and 32 at Bulera village, which are occupied by Bulera Teachers Training College on Hoima-Kampala road.

The court also said if the payment was not made, Mugenyi would pursue other legal steps including sale of the school, attachment of property of the district administration and seizure of its bank accounts to recover the money.

Mugenyi, a retired lawyer, said he bought the land from the late Caesar Magara in 1976, adding that he had planned to set up a university on the 345 acres of land by the time it was encroached on.

He explained that he had attempted to reach an out-of-court settlement with the then district LC5 chairman, James Rwebembera, and the chief administrative officer, Patrick Mwesigwa, but failed after the officials breached the agreement.

"They breached the agreement we had made not to expand the school and I decided to seek remedies in court. I am going to pursue these remedies because I have lost every opportunity to develop the land," Mugenyi said.

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