Fury as Police bosses, Hajji Abdu Kiyimba and Real Estate’s Ssemakula are Accused of Grabbing Widow’s Land

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Victim: Bulyaba Resty

WAKISO, Uganda: The issue of land grabbing in the country especially by mafias disregarding the will and rights of widows and orphans continue in earnest.

Today The Investigator unearths the way one of the real estates’ dealers; Millennium Estates Developers chief, a one Ismail Ssemakula and scores of local government leaders and police officers in Nsangi Sub County, Wakiso district are on the spot for grabbing eight acres belonging to a widow.

The Investigator visited Bulyaba Resty aged 55, a widow, a former NRM bush war fighter and mother to six children at her residence and the land she is battling for at Katulaga, Nanziga Parish Nsangi Sub County, Busiro East in Wakiso district.

After a 30 minutes’ walk with us in the scorching sun along the boundaries of her 8-acre land on Saturday afternoon, Bulyaba who, lost her 79 year old hubby in May 27 this year vividly recalls all the boundary marks of the land that they along with her late husband purchased 18 years ago {in 1999).

As she narrates her ordeal to the Investigator, tears roll down her face sending cold chills running through the spines of those present. A look at the land purchase papers indicate that Mubiru Eriyazali, Bulyabas’ late husband purchased the land from a one a Bernard Kiwanuka way back in 1999 at shs1.5 million. Kiwanuka has since passed on too, before he finalized the title transfer process.

Locals in Katulaga revealed to the Investigator that Mubiru’s father the late Zakariya Ssajjabi Nsubuga lived in the area since 1930 (87 years ago). The contested land is where he was buried, along with his wife some 35 years ago. Besides Zakariya’s grave is the fresh one of his son, Mubiru who died fighting to retain his land.

The widow explains that her husband died struggling to retain their land that was fraudulently obtained by Millennium Estate Developers.

According to Bulyaba, they woke up to a rude shock in March 2016 (last year) when area local council officials stormed their land along with a one Senkubuge Shaban, whom we established was a close confidant and partner to the Millennium Estate Developers boss Semakula Ismail. When he rang Senkubuge and demanded to talk to his boss, Semakula, he said; “We are one. What I say is what he will say.  Am aware of that land issue but can’t talk much.”

Documentary evidence before Kiyimba changed his mind

According to residents in Katulaga, he was the main broker who sealed the fraudulent acquisition of the said land. On that fateful day, Senkubuge along with others stormed the area and announced that they were the rightful owners of the land. They had in their possession a land title that they had fraudulently acquired from Wakiso district.

The best they would offer to the couple was a 70 decimal of their entire land. Before they realized, the grader was erasing their plantations that consisted of coffee and banana plantations, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams and scores of fruit trees.

Bulyaba explained to the Investigator that it is then that their battle to retain their land sparked off. They rushed to Nsangi police station and opened up a case of malicious damage and criminal trespass vide SD REF 38/23/03/2016.

In a field report dated 1st June 2016 that was filed by the Nsangi Sub County Agricultural officer, Margaret Nantume, the damage was costed at shs207, 175, 000 (Two Hundred and seven thousand, one hundred and seventy five thousand shillings). Though the official ordered that the damages be compensated, this is yet to be done.

Money exchanges hands

According to Bulyaba, after Mubiru filed a case at Nsangi police station, Semakula snubbed all calls to police. ‘The day he (Semakula) turned up, he openly handed out cash to the police in Nsangi and Hajji Abdu Kiyimba (the LC III Chairman),” explained Bulyaba.

We however asked her why in a letter dated 9th February 2016, Hajji Kiyimba warned the Katulaga area LC I Chairperson (Nanteza Annet) not to endorse any buyer of the land unless the owner was fully paid and compensated, Bulyaba said. “That was before he was bribed. After he was paid, the land grabbers came and erased our plantations in March 2016,” she explained.

Hajji Kiyimba, when contacted downplayed the question: “I am not aware of what you are talking about. Even I am busy having my lunch.”

Resty explaining to this writer at her family home

Bulyaba identified the police officers at Nsangi Police Station who were ‘bribed’ by Semakula as Nakabugo, the then OC CID, Kisubi the then DPC Nsangi, and a one Wandera who was the investigating officer (I.O).

“All these officers are now driving after they were paid by Semakula. Some have been transferred but some are still present and they park their cars at Nsangi Police Station. I can go and show you the cars,” said Bulyaba.  These officers declined to talk saying it is their spokesman Afande Asan Kasingye to talk on their behalf.

Bulyaba also accused the area Member of Parliament (Busiro East) Medard Ssegona of abandoning her after he was Promised Land by Semakula of Millennium Estates Developers. “As our area MP and lawyer we approached him for help. In the first days he was helpful. He took our papers and promised to help but after sometime, when we realized that he was promised an acre of land, he begun to dodge us. Each time we go to see him he refers us to his juniors until we gave up,” she said.

State House intervenes

After hitting a dead end at Nsangi police station due to the corrupt police officers, Bulyaba headed to State House where she was referred to a one Nuru. “Nuru seemed ready to help us until she one day told me to accept the 0.70 decimals I was being given by Semakula since she knew him and couldn’t rule negative against him,” said Bulyaba.

She revealed to the Investigator that Semakula promised each of those who helped him acquire the land in Katulaga with plots of land.

IGP orders

After the death of her husband, Semakula knew that all was done and it was a bed of roses, but Bulyaba was not about to give up. She sought the help of the Inspector General of Police Gen. Kale Kayihura who ordered the CIID to intervene.

We have established that CIID headquarters Kibuli called for the file from Nsangi Police Station only to find it empty. The officers handling the case who have ‘eaten big’ said the case was dismissed. We have learnt that Semakula also faces arrest along with Wakiso lands officials who forged the titles in favor of Millennium Estates Developers.

A new team was lined up and are now investigating the case afresh. Not all is rosy for the police officers who are named in the scandal. We can report that the Police Standards Unit (PSU) headed by Joel Aguma has already lined up a team to crack the whip.

We talked to Hajji Semakula Ismail, the managing director of Millennium Estates Developers. Though he first feigned ignorance of the land, we pressed him hard with facts. He succumbed saying; “That woman (Bulyaba Resty) doesn’t own that land. I bought it genuinely. Please ask the Wakiso land officials for more details.”

We asked him to tell us whom he bought the land from and the size of that land and he retorted; “I said that land is mine now. Don’t ask many questions. And should you dare publish that nonsense, I am a lawyer. I will take you on personally.”

Now despite his threats, we can report further that Semakula and his accomplices have been lined up for questioning by the no-nonsense Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of the Land Inquiry Commission. The Investigator established that the complaint Ref. L1/424/2017 was filed and received by the commission on July 3 2017. Watch this space…

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Patrick Jaramogi is a trained Crime, Financial and Fraud investigative journalist. He is a senior writer and Editor at the Investigator. He can be reached via email: pjaramogi@gmail.com or watsup +256772426211​​​
  • UGA

    Thanks for the good work- THE INVESTIGATOR, you have really make me like reading your online news every day, thanks for helping that poor woman, we have what we call broad day light thieve and i want the president to please hear the cry of this poor people who justice is been denied because the culprit are powerful.