Uganda: Get Out, IGG Tells Pastor in Property Row With Couple

10 January 2019

Gulu — The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Justice Irene Mulyagonja, has directed the Gulu District chairman, Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, to cause immediate eviction of a Gulu-based pastor from property belonging to an American couple.

This follows complaints raised by Mr Keith Coggin and his wife Lisa Coggin to the IGG accusing Mr Mapenduzi of abuse of office to have their property repossessed by Pastor George Jabulani of Gulu Community Church.

The couple in their complaint aver that they had got a lease offer of 49 years for the property from the Gulu District Local Government in August 2013 to set up a school on Plot No 67, block 2 at Ocuka Village in Bungatira Sub-county.

They noted that when the school, Sanctuary of Grace Primary, was set up, they later closed it down due to financial constraints.

They then entered a partnership with Pastor Jabulani who approached them to continue running it.

According to the couple, they had to repossess the school after Pastor Jabulani began mismanaging the property but when they sought help from Mr Mapenduzi, he instead sided with the pastor claiming that the land did not belong to them.

An investigation carried out by the IGG, however, reveals the land measuring 4.660 hectares, had been offered by the community members of Ocuka Village to the couple who were working under Ministry of Global Outreach.

The reports indicate that by September 2017 when the couple wanted Pastor Jabulani out of the property, a meeting was initiated between the complainants and the accused, including other stakeholders where a resolution was made that the pastor continues running the school since the complainants had no clear plan.

In her December 5, 2018 letter seen by Daily Monitor, Justice Mulyagonja noted that Section 59 of the Registration of Titles Act, CAP 230 provides that a Certificate of Title is conclusive proof of ownership and that the lease held by the couple can only be revoked on grounds of legality.

"In view of the above findings, and observations, you are directed to immediately cause Pastor George Jabulani to vacate the property belonging to Lisa and Keith Coggin. The district police commander should ensure that the handover is peaceful," Ms Mulyagonja stated.

However, Mr Mapenduzi said the decision undertaken by IGG was lopsided, arguing that they would have advised the couple to let the matter be handled by the district local government.

According to Mr Mapenduzi, the couple officially wrote to the district education department in March 2016 when pupils were in the middle of the first term indicating they were closing down the school due to financial constraint and chose Pastor Jabulani to continue running it.

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