Uganda: Family Fights Over Father's Estate After Land Fund Pay

BY JALIRA NAMYALO

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Sheema. Members of a family in Sheema District are embroiled in a dispute over administration and disposal of the property formerly owned by their late father.

In the case filed before the High Court in Mbarara, two family members Amos Bataisibwa and Ms Violet Nshemeire, have accused their brother, Francis Gureme of fraudulently entering into negotiations with Uganda Land Commission (ULC) for compensation of part of their late father's estate without their knowledge or consent.

Through their lawyers of T-Davis Wesley and Company Advocates, Mr Bataisibwa and Ms Nshemeire, allege that ULC has since made some payment for part of the disputed land to Mr Gureme without their consent.

It is alleged that Mr Gureme, a retired civil servant, fraudulently obtained letters of administration to the estate of their late father, Festo Lukumbyana and failed to exhibit in court a true and correct inventory pursuant to the grant of the said letter.

Court documents show that Lukumbyana died in 1947 and was survived by four children including Bataisibwa, Nshemeire, Salome Kabashekye (deceased) and Mr Gureme.

Lukumbyana left an estate consisting of about 379 hectares in Kabwohe, Sheema, for which Mr Gureme obtained administration without the knowledge of the complainants.

Court documents show that he obtained the letters of administration between 1986 and 1987 and started subdividing the land in 2008 and 2009 todate.

"That upon the grant of the letters of administration devoid of the plaintiffs' consents, the defendant (Gureme) embarked on a spree of subdivision of the estate of the deceased into various plots and selling them off to third parties," reads the court document.

According to the complaint, Mr Gureme subdivided and transferred part of the land into his names and also sold part of it to Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Ali Segayi, Church of Uganda as well as Hajara Balinda and put the proceeds to his personal use.

The complainants are seeking court orders for revocation and annulment of the letters of administration and to order Gureme to account for the monies received or collected on behalf of the estate.

They are also seeking cancelation of all titles for the plots subdivided on the estate and appointment of the complainants or their lawful attorneys as administrators of the estate.

On June 6, the complainants wrote to Uganda Land Commission chairperson describing themselves as direct beneficiaries of Lukumbyana's estate and that the said compensation is null and void since Mr Gureme did not have authority to negotiate on their behalf.

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