Kampala — The Lands ministry has cancelled a land title on Plot 1038, Block 195, in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb, and reinstated Ms Joyce Akello as the owner.
The decision comes in the wake of collapse of court-supervised mediation between Ms Akello and a one Nestori Nizeyimana, who claimed he bought the land in December 2016 at Shs42m from Bernard Oboke Adriko.
Mr Adriko has been a no-show since the dispute over ownership of the 0.0720 hectare prime land, which is now before the Land Division of the High Court, erupted.
Official records show that the land title was transferred from the names of Ms Akello to Mr Adriko on instrument number KCCA-00031850 on September 16, 2016, at 3:22pm.
On December 12, 2016, the ownership of the plot was changed from Mr Adriko to Mr Nizeyimana under instrument number KCCA-00034511.
The sales agreement was drafted by Mr Nizeyimana's son, Mr Collins Nizeye, a lawyer.
"I'm not the buyer of that land, you should contact the buyer," the lawyer said, referring to his father, Mr Nizeyimana.
There are two versions of a November 2016 sale agreement; one indicating the land was bought at Shs42m and another at Shs50m.
Mr Ismail Zziwa signed as a witness for Mr Adriko, the seller, while Mr Nizeye, who drafted the sale agreement, signed as a witness for his father Nizeyimana, the buyer.
These alleged anomalies and petitions by Ms Akello, which prompted the Lands ministry to re-examine the contrasting claims, resulting in a March 14 decision by Johnson Bigiira, who signed on behalf of the commissioner for land registration, to reinstate her as the owner.
Senior registrar of titles, Ms Aisha Kabira, initially wrote to Mr Nizeyimana on December 8, 2018, informing him of their decision to cancel his title in line with a warning a month earlier.
"This is to inform you that this office has cancelled your entries from the certificate of the title above mentioned and has reinstated the entry of Ms Joyce Akello as the registered proprietor," Ms Kabira wrote in a letter addressed to both Mr Nizeyimana and Mr Adriko.
Records show that Ms Akello, a former employee of the British High Commission, bought the land from Jomayi Properties in 2007 from its previous owner Sulait Ssemakula, who in turn acquired it from Mr Ismail Mayanja in 2005.
Ms Akello relocated to Nairobi, Kenya, leaving a one Erias Munyandekesi aka Mukiga, as a caretaker.
She, however, during one of her occasional visits in 2018 noticed construction of a permanent house on the plot.
Ms Kello lodged a case of trespass at Kira Road Police Station, but hurried to file a civil suit number 711 of 2018 at Kampala Land Division over a lack of progress in police investigations.
"This is my land and some people are trying to grab it," she told his newspaper.
Mr Munyandekesi confirmed serving as a caretaker and said he had warned Ms Nizeyimana not to buy the land because it belonged to Ms Akello. He said a stranger, who identified himself as Avon, called him one day and asked him not to "disturb" people he would dispatch to survey the plot.
A neighbour of the estate, who asked not be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said Ms Akello was the rightful owner because they bought the plots at the same time with her in 2007.
"... those guys are trying to take advantage and grab the land just because she is a woman," the neighbour added.
A house has been erected at the plot, allegedly by Nizeyimana, and Ms Adrika.
Mr Stephen Mpirirwe Byanagwa, who chairs a loose grouping of residents in the estate, said the land belongs to Ms Akello, but he blamed her for not developing it in a long time.