UGANDA, Kiryandongo | Real Muloodi News | A city businessman is suing Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire and three other people over land in Kiryandongo District.
In March 2020, Mr Stephen Wekomba filed a case accusing Justice Kiryabwire and three siblings of reacquiring the land which government had already paid for, and forcing him to leave it.
Mr Wekomba is among the squatters that lived on the land for 12 years before 1995. He says government entered into a consent judgment, and Justice Kiryabwire was paid off. Mr Wekomba now wonders why the same person wants to repossess the same land after being paid.
The land measures up to 300 acres, and is part of the 5000 acres that belong to Justice Kiryabwire through inheritance.
Mr Wekomba is seeking an injunction on the activities of Justice Kiryabwire and his three counterparts, and for the court to award costs of the suit and other damages.
Mr Wekomba says, “I took the matter to court because I wanted Justice…. The Judge is using the police to intimidate people.” Mr Wekomba adds, “the Judge has used force to fence off the land, arrested my manager and imprisoned him.”
Mr Wekomba also revealed that when Justice Kiryabwire sued them, he agreed with the ruling, and the government compensated him.
He therefore does not understand why the Justice wants to take back the land even after government compensation.
Documents arrayed before the court show that the Justice sued the squatters after his failed attempt to evict them. Justice Kiryabwire also sued the Government of Uganda through the Attorney General and Masindi Land Board.
The government settled the case out of court. In the ruling, Justice Kiryabwire received a USh 1.7 billion settlement to allow the squatters to remain on the land.
Justice Kiryabwire owns 3000 acres of land, of which the government compensated him. The squatters live on 2377, and 300 acres belong to Mr Wekomba.
Mr Wekomba claims that despite all the payments and the agreement, Justice Kiryabwire backpedalled on the ruling and repossessed the land.
In an affidavit that accompanies his application, Mr Wekomba says that since January 2020, many people have been entering the disputed piece of land and claiming that it belongs to the Justice and his colleagues.
He also says they have created a road using graders that leads to his land and changed its boundaries.
He also notes that the Justice and his colleagues have declined his request to resurvey the disputed land.
According to an affidavit filed on April 8, 2021, speaking on behalf of their client, the Legal team of Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, said that issues raised by Mr Wekomba in his testimony are false.
Counsel Kibuuka says, “I reasonably believe that this application has no merit and basis in law. The applicant’s application has no chances of success.” We did not interfere or enter the applicant’s said land. If any, the respondents and I herein legally occupy and work on land belonging to the estate of late Prof Kiryabwire described as Ranch 13A and not the applicant’s alleged land.”
However, Mr Wekomaba’s legal team, led by Kizigo Nyote of Nyote and company Advocates, told the court that the respondent did not surrender the land title as agreed in the consent judgement.
Call 0 800 100 004 to report cases of illegal Land evictions, discrimination based on gender, incidents of corruption and bribery; delayed land transactions, general poor service delivery and absenteeism within the Lands Ministry.
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