Last Updated on: 14th April 2023, 06:47 pm
Jinja, April 14, 2023: High Court Resident Judge Justice Farida Shamila Bukirwa has issued a temporary injunction on a property situated on Plot 54 Main Street.
The property is currently a center of deadly conflict among some business people.
“…it’s hereby ordered as follows: that an Interim Ordered is hereby granted restraining the respondents from the sale, mortgage, transfer, disposal, eviction, demolition, threats, intimidation and any other form of interference about the property… pending the determination of the main suit,” reads part of the Order dated 12 April 2023.
The Court order followed a miscellaneous application filed by the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) against plaintiffs: Hajji Musa Balikowa and Emma Moses Gamwanga who are also claiming to be the rightful owners of the building.
Records show that the dilapidated property originally belonged to Gordhandas Lalji Kotecha who left Uganda in 1972 following the expulsion of non-citizen Asians by the then government led by President Idi Amin Dada.
Controversy erupted over the building in late 2022 when Gamwanga sent goons to demolish it claiming to have sold it to the Iganga-based tycoon, Hajji Musa Balikowa who plans to put in a new modern structure that fits the Jinja City status.
Gamwanga claims he bought the building from a person with the powers of attorney who sold it to him making him the rightful owner. He subsequently sold it to Balikowa.
To have a clear picture of what was on the ground; Lady Justice Bukirwa visited the scene on Wednesday when she conducted a hearing at the scene with witnesses and lawyers giving their sides of the story.
As expected, tempers flared as people forgot it was a court session and talked in chorus without being asked to do so, but a soft-speaking judge whose desk has dozens of property-related wrangles managed to prevail to avoid an ugly situation that could have arisen.
The Counter Terrorism (CT) female bodyguard attached to ensure safety struggled throughout to push people away, some who squeezed closer to the judge who seemed more interested in the case than the potential risks.
The DAPCB representative Hirome Sabbehe Mayanja maintains the property belongs to the government because the original owner did not return physically to repossess it as required by the law.
Mayanja told Court that Gamwanga used fraudulent means to acquire the building whose original owners initiated the repossession processes but did not conclude because he did not come back physically as the law requires.
On the other hand, Lawyer Davis Guma representing Gamwanga and Balikowa insists the original owner acquired a Certificate of Repossession rendering DAPCB out of the picture.
Jinja City is one of the places which have become synonymous with property-related scandals (Asian buildings/land and corruption) among others that have led civil servants including top police officers to land into “ethical problems”.
A couple of months ago, a government grader worth shs2b disappeared under mysterious circumstances from the Council Yard and recovered as scraps sold to some dealers in the City.
The Jinja City Law Enforcement Officer Denis Bimboona was smoked from a hideout in Kampala and charged before the Court of Law after months of hiding following the grader episode.
Several people including politicians, tenants, landlords, or their representatives are in the Courts over similar property wrangles surrounding the buildings formerly owned by the Asians.