KAMPALA- The High Court has set August 22 as a date when it will decide whether a case in which Budadiri West Member of Parliament, Mr Nandala Mafabi is accused of grabbing land valued at Shs 1 billion was wrongly filed in the Land Division of the court.

The case had come up for hearing last week.

Mr Mafabi, through his lawyer told court that they wish to raise an application concerning the jurisdiction of the case.

However, the trial judge at the High Court Land Division, Justice Henry Kaweesa advised Mr Mafabi’s lawyer to raise his application by way of a Preliminary Objection on July 21 before a final decision is made on August 22.

Mr Mafabi was dragged to court together with the Commissioner of Land Registration by a couple seeking a declaration  that the registration  of   land   comprised   in FRV 391 Folio  21 known  as Plot 4  Nakalokole Road,  Mbale District, measuring 0.290 hectares in Mr Mafabi’s name, is null  and void.  

Mr Stephen Stuyvesant Wobwenyi and Ms Annet Naturinda in their suit say that they have been  residing  on  the said  land  as their matrimonial  home as a married  couple since  May 7,2003 while undisturbed  until  August  30, 2016 when Mr Mafabi fraudulently transferred  the ownership of the land into his name.

The couple in their suit say that in May 7,2003 Mr Wobwenyi   as the registered  owner of the land   approached   Mr Mafabi to borrow Shs 150m  as a friendly  loan using  the land’s  certificate  of title  as security  which  was handed  over to his lawyers.

However, Mr Mafabi denied the allegations and asked court to dismiss the case with costs saying his accusers do not have any claim whatsoever.

In his statement of defence, the MP says Mr Wobwenyi approached him to buy the suit land in December 2011 at Shs 150,000,000 to which he accepted to pay in three equal instalments.
"That having agreed on the payment mode he referred the first plaintiff (Mr Wobwenyi) to M/S Mutembuli & Co Advocates to prepare a sale agreement and immediately upon the signing of the agreement, Shs50, 000,000 was transferred to the account of the first plaintiff in Standard Chartered Bank A/C NO. 015016488900 Mbale branch and he handed over the original certificate of Title. The allegation of a friendly loan is unfounded and an afterthought having used up the purchase price," he said.

According to the suit, after the transaction, the first applicant (Mr Wobwenyi) left the country in March 2013 to South Africa and returned in June 2016.

 However, during his stay in South Africa, he kept on communicating with Mr Mafabi and his lawyer Yusuf Mutembule,” the couple further narrates.

To the first applicants’ surprise, Mr Nandala in August 30, 2016 had fraudulently transferred the land without the knowledge or consent of the second plaintiff (Ms Naturinda) as his wife as is required by the provisions of the Land Act.

According to the court documents, in July 18,2016 the first applicant raised  an objection  to the Commissioner  of Land  Registration  Ministry  of Lands ,Housing  and Urban Development  about the fraudulent transfer of the said land but they have refused to transfer it back to him.

The documents indicate  that the loan agreement  purportedly  executed  did not  create  a money lending agreement  between the parties  and cannot claim   to be  a money lender  as an  ordinary  money  lending  transaction  should not  have a security  clause.

“At that time Mr Mafabi had no money lending licence and was carrying out business of money lending which means that any agreement   or contract between the plaintiffs was illegal,” the documents read in part. 

The couple wants  court to issue a permanent injunction  against  Mr Mafabi restraining  him from  estranging  or  evicting   them  from carrying  out any  further  developments   on the land.

They are also seeking for an order  directing  the commissioner of Land  Registration  and the Registrar of Titles to cancel  the certificate of title  for the plot   of the said land  and the land register  to be  corrected  accordingly.

They  also want general  damages , exemplary damages, costs  of the  suit  and any  other  order or relief  which court may  deem fit.

However, Mr Mafabi denied the allegations and asked court to dismiss the case with costs saying his accusers do not have any claim whatsoever.

But Mr Nandala further contends that on February 2012, Mr Wobwenyi received the final instalment of Shs 50, 000,000 upon which he signed and handed over the transfer forms in respect of the suit land.

"The first defendant contends that having paid the final instalment and received transfer forms he embarked on the process of transferring the land to his names as required by law. The allegation of fraud... is an afterthought, the plaintiffs shall be put to strict proof of allegation therein. Further, the first defendant avers that the first plaintiff's official married wife having passed on, he was at time living with Mrs Nasra Kaim who was present and witnessed the transaction," further states the MP in his statement of defence dated April 30, 2018.


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story did not have Mr Nandala Mafabi's defence. The story has been updated to carry it.