An ownership row is ranging on currently, between the buyers of the condominium suites erected by the demised prominent entrepreneur, Bonny Mwebesa Katatumba, his family, plus some of the purchasers of the same, on one hand, and Kampala Asian businessman-cum-politician, Mukesh Shukla aka Shumuk, on the other. Fortunately, enough, the row is in the safe hands of the Commercial Court’s Principal, Justice Stephen Mubiru.
The same Judge has proved himself overtime, to be an impartial as well as incorruptible one. Subsequently, we trust that this Judge is going to resolve these matters without fear, favor or ill-will. The family of Katatumba Senior led by singer Angela Katatumba and her twin brother Rugirwa Katatumba, plus their sibling Allan Katatumba, accuse Mukesh of grabbing the entire 101 condominium units, yet he is entitled to only sixty-five of them.
They are joined by the other purchasers of the condominium units including businessmen; Joseph Ssempebwa and Peter Lule, to accuse Mukesh of converting what was meant to be theirs, to himself. Mukesh interestingly denies any act of foul play as put to him by his accusers. The man who terribly lost to Cosase boss, Joel Ssenyonyi in the Nakawa West Parliament election and in court, incurring over UGX500m in costs, insists as the same is also admitted by his accusers, he is entitled to sixty-five units out of the 101 units being contested over.
The registrar of titles, Hakim Babu, while fielding questions from Mukesh’s attorney, Augustine Stina Kibuuka Musoke, confirmed that different people own the units amongst themselves apart from Mukesh. He read out, for that matter, a total of thirteen Titles in the names of one Asian known as Virani, for demonstration purposes. He gave the chronology of the ownership of the land holding the condominium units and revealed the same to have been owned by Katatumba initially, via a ninety-nine lease.
It is the same lease which the deceased Katatumba Senior would take over before it’s expiry and erected the now impugned units. Following the original lease’s expiry in 2011, as per Babu, the owners of the condominium units would form themselves into a legal corporation in pursuance of its renewal.
He explained that failure to do so, the units in issue, would have seen the owners automatically foregoing the same. The same would, in default of renewal of the lease, now be taken over by the Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) by virtue of being the lessor.
Following the registration of the corporation, the witness revealed, the owners of the units now approached KDLB for the renewal of the expired release. What this would presuppose is that no one single owner, no matter the number of units he happened to possess at the time of the expiry of the original lease, was at liberty to go it alone by obtaining a separate Lease Title for their units. It is not very clear, though the same seems to be the case, whether Shumuk didn’t go it alone and obtain a Lease Title for his units. And, perhaps, in the process, included those units he didn’t own, but which he flatly rejects.
Well, KDLB responded and put the decision in writing which, Babu testified, was then sent to the commissioner land registration and the attendant Lease Title thus issued out into the names of the corporation earlier formed and duly registered by the owners of the units. He strongly rejected suggestions put to him by Mukesh’ s attorney, Kibuuka Musoke that he was supposed to clarify anything with KLDB before issuance of the fresh Lease Title. He noted with the approval of the Judge, that all he had to do was to receive the minute from KLDB, as the lessors, assenting to the grant of the lease plus the prior application thereof, and then go ahead and issue out the same. Mukesh will resume his case on November 10.
- 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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