• Mon. May 23rd, 2022

Prof. Minaz Karmali and Godfrey Kirumira’s Land Dispute Drags On Amid Heightened Tensions in the Courtroom

UGANDA, Mukono | Real Muloodi News | Professor Minaz Karmali and business tycoon Godfrey Kirumira continue to be caught up in a land dispute being heard as a civil matter before the High Court of Mukono.

The disputed land is a Freehold FRV 1110 Folio 13 at Plot 393 Kyaggwe block 113 at Katikolo within Namanve Industrial Park in Seeta, Mukono District.

Allegations

Both parties presented their cases before Justice David Batema who is presiding over the matter.

The plaintiff (Professor Karmali) dragged the defendant (Godfrey Kirumira) to court for allegedly improperly transferring his 85-acre land into Mr Kirumira’s proprietorship without his knowledge or consent. 

The plantiff claims that he had engaged the services of Mr Kirumira’s company, Capital Ventures International Limited (CVIL), to conduct a valuation and survey of the disputed land before Prof Karmali purchased it.

However, Prof Karmali discovered that during the time the land was in Mr Kirumira’s care, he allegedly used the opportunity to instead take possession of the same land at USh400m.

Prof Karmali says that it was only when he attempted to make a sale of part of the land to Uganda Investment Authority, he leaned the land was no longer in his proprietorship.

In his defence, Mr Kirumira claims he has been the registered owner of plots 392 and 393 for five years now.

According to court papers, Mr Kirumira claims he purchased the disputed land from Yokana Galikwoleka Mukasa in October 2017. Whereas Prof Karmali claims to have bought the land from Charles Kagenya in November 2010, adding that Mukasa was Kagenya’s shamba boy.

In addition, Prof Karmali claims that Yokana Galikwoleka Mukasa died in July 1996, and that a deceased person could not have personally sold land, signed transfer paperwork, and handed over the title to a living person, as Mr Kirumira claims.

Court Proceedings

Mr Kirumira, through his lawyer, requested that the case against him be dismissed, citing the separation of the signature page from the text of affidavits, which impairs the legitimacy and proof of a party’s claim. According to Mr Kirumira’s application, the affidavits were not properly signed.

In response, Prof Karmali’s lawyer, Mr Denis Nyombi, wanted to object to Mr Kirumira’s application, reasoning that the application questioned the legality of the case thus may result in the disposal of the main case.

However, the judge refused to hear Mr Nyombi’s response to the application made by Kirumira.

“I am not interested in your applications and all I just want is to hear the main suit,” Justice Batema ruled.

Prof Karmali’s lawyer Mr Nyombi was dissatisfied with the judge’s rule. 

“How can the court make a ruling before the other party responds to issues raised by the other party?” Mr Nyombi questioned while pointing the finger at the judge, who had already ruled that the affidavits supporting the case were irregular.

It also became an issue of contention when the judge proposed the consolidation of suits involving both parties, citing similar facts, and contention issues.

Consolidation of cases is done when two or more matters involve resolving similar questions of law and fact.

The judge eventually consolidated the two cases, to which Mr Nyombi also objected.

Mr Nyombi reasoned that the two cases involved distinct issues and parties. Kirumira’s statement, he claims, also cites plot 392, which is non-existent.

After the consolidation of suits, the interim applications were considered overtaken by events and were consequently dismissed. The matters are now to be heard as main suits on their merits.

Justice Batema also barred Prof Karmali, his agents, workers, or anyone else working on his behalf from evicting Mr Kirumira from the land. 

Mr Nyombi further objected to the judge’s interim order barring his client from visiting the land, yet Mr Godfrey Kirumira had access to it.

However, the judge ruled that he would not go back on his word and that there was room for an appeal if any of the parties wanted to.

“I will not reason with you because it is not legal advocacy, however, you are free to appeal against my decision. The order is made. I am the judge, have you heard?” the judge firmly told Mr Nyombi before adjourning the case for further notice.

This case has been adjourned to 7th April to allow for filing the Joint Scheduling Memorandum, Witness Statements, and trial bundles.

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