They might be humble, high-ranking officials at defense ministry. But in the same breadth, they are, hitherto unsung real estates` gurus with several prime properties littered around town, mostly in Kisaasi, Kyanja and Ntinda areas. This stance, until recently when a prime property they love to register to their name is proving to chock.
Deo Bwogi Ssali and his wife Babra B. Ssali, tentatively lost a plot to grab land bequeathed to a woman, Jane Frances Zziwa, in Ntinda, Naguru area. Thanks to the intervention of the no-nonsense land minister, Dr Sam Mayanja and the court, poor lady and her family were slated to lose their property at the hands of the powerful propertied couple.
The minister entered the fray in April by writing a strong-worded missive to the Kampala District Land Board, to cancel a suspected lease which had been granted to the defense lovebirds. The suspected couple had by this time, processed a suspicious lease on the land from the land board.
The duo was now using the suspicious lease to threaten eviction against the woman and her family which possesses an earlier lease. Mayanja upon being briefed by the victim and her lawyers, quickly wrote to the Board to undo the mess. Mayanja gave a chronology of the leases which the woman had been granted by the authorities on the land which was being targeted.
“This office has perused the attached documents and noticed the following; The late Trevor Ndugga Lutwama was the proprietor of leasehold titled volume2732, folio 7 and was and was offered an initial lease term of four years. On expiration, he was granted an extension of eight years. The second lease expired on 30th November 2008 and by their letter, the Directorate of Physical Planning recommended for extension under document “C”, Mayanja`s two-page letter read in part.
He further accuses the Ssalis of reportedly trying to force Jane Frances out with a bait in the range of UGX300m. “Madam Namirimo Jane Frances Zziwa has been paying ground rent as shown in document `D`. By document `E` however, other people namely Ssali Bwogi Deo and Barbra B. Ssali offered her Uganda Shillings Three Hundred Million to take over the leasehold which offer she declined. Unfortunately, by a letter from Ms. NSB Advocates, she is being threatened with eviction by the same purported new proprietors”.
Mayanja further quoted the Uganda Constitution and the laws subordinate to it, which gives priority to the victim and her family, being the sitting lease holders of the land. To her relief, Justice Simon Zirintusa Kintu of High Court Kampala, Land Division, also came to her rescue by napping the eviction in the bid. He did this by suspending any suspicious dealings on the land.
This would mean Deo Bwogi Ssali and wife Babra Ssali, both working with Ministry of Defense, in the NEC docket and Finance Department respectively, shouldn’t go ahead with the eviction of Zziwa, nor her family, from the land located along Crescent View in Ntinda. The order remains in effective state until otherwise reviewed by the courts of law.
When contacted last week, Deo confirmed having entered the said land deal. He however said that they had jumped out of the same after learning of the differences involved. “It is true we wanted that land but we withdrew our interest and asked the brokers for refund of our deposit,” he said. Asked whether they were given the balance and indeed jumped out, Deo was not committal, giving credence to the victims` allegations that they were still, stealthily interested in their property. “Go look for the brokers and ask them such questions. Didn`t you say you`re investigators?
We also contacted the Kampala District Land Board Chairman, Counsel David Balondemu who, acknowledged receipt of the Minister`s letter. “Initially, it looked like Madam Namirimo had consented to the transaction but now, with these new developments, the Board will have to sit and resolve the matter accordingly.” On knowledge of the alleged UGX300M bait to Namirimo, Balondemu said he was yet to understand the matter deeply.
About his letter and whether he thought it would resolve the matter, Minister Mayanja said he is getting used to having his letters ignored. “These are rich, connected public servants who always ignore my letters. However, my intentions are to put our position on record. No one has a monopoly to knowledge. Whether the couple adheres to my counsel or ignore it as I hear, they will be put to order when proper systems once come into function.” But Balondemu assure that his office will definitely respond to the Minister`s letter at the appropriate time.
The targeted family hired the renowned city criminal lawyer MaCdusman Kabega to pursue their quite enjoyment of the land. Counsel Eric Eroket appeared in court on behalf of the respondents. Jane Frances derives ownership of the land, licensed as lease from an administrative writ granted by court over the estate of departed Trevor Ndugga Lutwama. It would be so good for the poor woman and her family for the time being. But hold it there, will the calmness clasp? Watch the space…
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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