Uganda: Land Probe - Man Grilled for Using President's Name to Grab Land

13 February 2019

Kampala — A man who has been using President Museveni's name to grab people's land in Buwagga near Gayaza and Busso near Munyonyo in Kampala on Monday found a difficult time explaining to the Land Commission how he acquired 245 acres of the late Joseph Kateregga's land.

Mr Ruta Sebastian Ngambwa, a property dealer of Prime Properties Limited was dragged to the Land Commission by the administrators of the late Kateregga's estate for grabbing their family land.

Mr Ngambwa first bought 30 acres of disputed land from the administrators of the estate, Mr Johnson Kimera, Ms Margret Nansubuga and Ms Gertrude Nakimbugwe, but only paid Shs10m out of Shs345m.

Mr Ngambwa explained that it was willing buyer and willing seller arrangement that guaranteed him 30 per cent of the land in exchange for helping the family get a title.

In a sales agreement he signed with the family, he promised to buy 50 per cent of the land reclaimed from the bonafide occupants, however since 2013 he had never paid for the land.

The Commission's chairperson, Justice Bamugemereire, dismissed the sale agreement saying it was procured to cheat the family.

"This sounds like a contract procured to cheat. It goes to show that the devil is in the detail," Justice Bamugemereire said, dismissing Mr Ngambwa's claim he had failed to find the 30 acres of land the family sold him.

Last week Ms Nakimbuggwe denied signing the sales agreement that was drafted by Mr Ngambwa's lawyer taking advantage of the illiterate family.

This is contrary to the testimony of Ms Nakimbugwe who told the land probe last week that besides taking more than the 30 acres, Mr Ngambwa had taken over all the 245A acres of land on Block 127 Plots 2 and 49.

Mr Ngambwa said he had registered the land in his names and went ahead to sub-divide the land before selling it off. He acknowledged he still owes the family Shs178m but said he would only pay after they withdraw the case.

"My Lord, they sold all their interests on the land, I know they have a balance but I will pay it after they withdraw all the suits from courts," Mr Ngambwa said.

Mr Ngambwa failed to explain why he was using the President's name to take over people's land in Buwagga and why he had not been charged for the same as directed by the President.


The chairperson put it to Mr Ngambwa that he was one of those people snooping around estates of deceased persons in the office of the Administrator General before taking over their land.

Land week, the commission received testimonies from squatters on the land who accused Mr Ngambwa of grading their gardens that has left them begging for food.

The commission chairperson refused to buy the idea that Mr. Ngambwa had paid for the crops he destroyed while demarcating the land.

Records show that Mr Ngambwa paid Shs200,000 to Mr Kiwanuka, Shs100,000 to Mr Senoga, Shs50,000 to Mr Nakabale, Shs50,000 to Nsamba and another Shs50,000 to Hawa Nsamba as compensation for their food.

"If someone says you are a very cruel buyer are they wrong? If you pay Shs50,000 for a livelihood for food are you not being cruel," Justice Bamugemereire asked Mr Ngambwa drawing cheers from the audience. Residents of Buwagga grow vegetables that they sell to markets in Kampala.

"My Lord, the Shs50,000 was payment for about three heaps of sweet potatoes," Mr Ngambwa said drawing murmurs from his victims in the audience.


Justice Bamugemereire asked Mr Ngambwa to show where he got such authority to act with impunity adding that such impunity.

She lost her cool after realising that Mr Ngambwa had bought an old woman's Kibanja at Shs19.5m but only paid Shs500,000.

"My Lord, I was doing business," Mr Ngambwa told the commissioners some of who were too angry to ask him any question.

Mr Ngambwa has since subdivided the land and sold it into plots that have been bought.

Justice Bamugemereire promised that the commission was continuing with investigation to establish how Mr Ngambwa circumvented the entire Administrator General's office, the court system, the Ministry of Lands to grab the land in Buwagga.

Mr Ngambwa returns to the commission tomorrow.

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