• Fri. Aug 19th, 2022

High Court Repeals COSASE’s Report on Departed Asian Properties

UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Kampala High Court of Uganda has ruled the report by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) Sub-Committee on the Departed Asian Properties was full of illegalities.

The ruling delivered June 4, 2022 by Justice Boniface Wamala, said that COSASE Sub-Committee’s decisions were illegal because the matter they were handling was subject to concluded court decisions or ongoing court processes.

Mr Mohammed Allibhai, the applicant who represented a section of former owners of the properties, had dragged the Attorney General to court requesting court to review the acts of COSASE Sub-Committee in investigating properties already handled by the court, confirming rightful ownership.

Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, had already distanced himself from the committee’s report, saying the cancellation of repossession certificates held by owners of the properties could result in lawsuits.

In his ruling, Justice Boniface Wamala agreed with Allibhai that COSASE Sub-Committee’s work was illegal, and awarded him costs of the application against the Attorney General.

“The COSASE Sub-Committee exceeded its mandate and acted without jurisdiction, and thus illegally when it purported to investigate properties already dealt with under the Expropriated Properties Act and in respect of which certificates of repossession had long been issued.”

Adding that: “The COSASE Sub-Committee acted ultra vires and without jurisdiction, thus illegally, when it made recommendations for cancellation of repossession certificates in respect of properties that had already been dealt with in accordance with the Expropriated Properties Act.”

Justice Wamala also agreed that COSASE Sub-Committee acted with bias and in abuse of the principles of natural justice, thus with procedural impropriety and unfairness, when it issued a warrant of arrest against the Applicant. Thus, he subsequently quashed and expunged from all official records the warrant of arrest issued against Mr Allibhai.

He also ruled an order quashing and expunging from the Hansards of Parliament those parts of the COSASE Sub-Committee report that relate to the Applicant and are affected by the illegalities, procedural impropriety and unfairness contained in the declarations.

Background

On November 6, 2019, the then Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, ordered for investigations to be carried out concerning the findings of two reports by the Auditor General’s office on the operations of the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) from 1st February 2011 to 31st March 2016, and another from 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017.

In 2019, the then COSASE chairperson, Mubarak Munyagwa, tasked the former Makindye East, MP Hon. Ibrahim Kasozi to chair a subcommittee to investigate the alleged fraudulent acquisition of properties under the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board.

In his report, Kasozi gave examples of individuals like Mr Allibhai, whom he indicated to have gone to Canada and allegedly fraudulently obtained certificates of repossession.

As such, the sub-committee recommended the cancellation of their certificates and also went ahead to issue arrest warrants against those implicated in the alleged fraudulent transactions.

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