19 March 2019

Uganda: City Businessman Arrested, Produced Before Land Probe

Kampala — Businessman Sebastian Ruta Ngambwa was yesterday produced before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters after he failed to provide a detailed list of the people he had sold land to in Buwaga and Busso in Busukuma Sub-county, Wakiso District.

He was dragged to the land probe by the family of the late Joseph Kateregga accusing him of taking more than 235 acres of family land.

Mr Ruta Ngambwa was arrested last Friday from Kayunga District where he had been hiding and detained at Wandegeya Police Station.

The commission chairperson, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, on February 13 while on a field visit to Buwaga and Busso, tasked Mr Ruta to produce original titles for plots he created in Buwaga and Busso and a list of people to whom he sold plots.

He was also supposed to produce his two managers, Mr Crysestom Muhwezi, and Mr Walakira Mayanja, before the commission.

However, Mr Ruta did not return to the commission and went into hiding until he was arrested.

"I want to apologise to the commission, I was sick and upcountry. My lord, my lawyer told me we have a case in court, he misled me," Mr Ruta pleaded.

According to Mr Ruta, he sold the land in Buwaga to 559 people but they could be about 700 plots since some were buying more than one.

He, however, did not provide the list of plots in Busso.

Producing authentic lists

The chairperson ordered the commission team to go with Mr Ruta and he produces authentic lists of people to whom he sold land in Busso.

Mr Ruta pleaded with the commission to bring the lists in two days but Justice Bamugemereire objected, saying he would run away.

"Do you know what it cost this commission to look for you? Go and work with my people until you provide the lists," Justice Bamugemereire ordered.

The chairperson blamed Mr Ruta for creating confusion in the two villages by selling the land to third parties and leaving the parties to fight.

Two residents of Buwaga, Ms Gertrude Nakimbugwe, and Mr David Omba, told the commission that unknown people uprooted their crops.

After the day's session, Mr Ruta was escorted by police officers.

BACKGROUND

Allegation. Mr Ruta of Prime Real Estate Limited is at the centre of grabbing 630 acres of land in Buwaga, Makenke parish in Busukuma Sub-county in Wakiso District. He also allegedly grabbed another square mile of land in Busso in Nansana Municipality and displaced people.

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