UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Court of Appeal has ordered the proprietor of Legacy Credit, Ben Kavuya, to return all the properties he acquired illegally, including plots of land in Bweyogerere, Kataza-Kiswa, a Kampala suburb. This land belonged to a retired accountant from Kampala Capital City Authority, George David Wakanyira.
According to Wakanyira, the plot in Bweyogerere housed his marital home and, ever since the seizure of the home, his wife ran away. He now lives an impoverished life, a misery he attributes to Kavuya, who grabbed his property, including his marital home.
“I am now living at my sister’s residence. I don’t have a wife, now my prostate is growing because I don’t get conjugal rights and I am now 65,” Wakanyira said.
In 2007, Wakanyira sued Kavuya, Global Capital Save 2004 Ltd. and Rutungo properties for stealing his property.
When Wakanyira’s Hostel at Kataza was on the verge of being sold off by Housing Finance Bank in 2007, he was in a desperate situation that forced him to borrow 170 million shillings from Kavuya’s money lending company, the then Global Capital Save. The loan was to be paid within six months at an interest rate of 10 per cent.
He said Kavuya tricked him into signing a deceptive transfer form, claiming he had sold the land, yet it was collateral. Global Capital Save has since been dissolved.
Kavuya made him append his signature on a blank piece of paper which he allegedly used to transfer the Hostel in the name of Rutungo Ltd. This was confirmed by one of the defence witnesses in court, Michael Nywana.
Nywana told the court that he filled in the transfer forms at a value of 10 million Ugandan shillings for each property without looking at the sale agreement.
Stephen Kinyanga, Wakanyira’s lawyer, says the value of properties stated in the transfer forms showed no developments, yet they fully developed the properties. He also noted the transactions were ruined by trickery and not based on any sale agreement.
Wakanyira asked the court to declare that the transaction was a loan agreement and not a sale agreement.
In August 2010, high court Judge Geoffrey Kiryabwire ruled that the transaction was a sale and no evidence of fraudulent sale. Wakanyira immediately appealed the ruling in Civil Appeal 36 of 2010. However, a delayed judgment prompted him to petition the Bamugemereire Land Commission over his property.
“I have come to the commission because the Court of Appeal has taken a very long time and I don’t foresee recovering my property,” Wakanyira said.
In a judgment dated 12th October 2021, three justices of the court, Cheborion Barishaki, Richard Buteera and Hellen Obura, ruled that although there was a sale agreement, Wakanyira never intended to enter a legal contract for the sale of his properties and that it was illegal and fraudulent for Ben Kavuya and his company to say that the transaction was a sale.
Court awarded Wakanyira 71 million shillings in special damages for properties left behind upon eviction and 50 million shillings damages. The justices also granted an interest of 20 per cent annually on special damages from filing the case until payment in full, a 10 per cent annual interest rate on general damages from judgment until payment in full.
Wakanyira was also ordered to clear his loan. However, he should pay an interest of 20% annually. The court ruled that albeit the loan had to be paid back within six months at an interest rate of 10 per cent, Wakanyira could not pay at that interest rate because he had paid the loan when he realised his properties had been transferred into the names of Rutungo Properties Ltd.
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