Businessman drags UNRA to court over compensation

By Sania Babirye

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has been sued by a businessman John Mugisha demanding a 2.1 billion shillings compensation for allegedly under compensating him of his land at block 185, plot 967 at Namugongo along Kira -Kasangati Road which is affected by Kira – Matugga Road project.

The Complainant says UNRA valued his land that has a structure undergoing construction of an L- shape Hotel Block , boundary hall, Gate house, over head water tank, flower bed and trees at 4.6bn shillings but have now revised it to 2.8billion shillings yet his his private surveyors of Hillscape Valuers Ltd valued his property at 5bn shillings.

Through his lawyer of Rutebemberwa and Co Advocates, Mugisha claims that on the 13th of December 2018 UNRA informed him to halt construction works and on 26th March 2019 confirmed his land and property was affected by the road project and ordered him to stop all construction to pave way for the assessment of the property for compensation.

He adds that his project was meant to be completed by April 2019 and that upon signing the valuation form,he handed over the land title to UNRA in compliance with the compensation terms.

Mugisha however contends that he was shocked on the 17th of September 2020 when UNRA informed him that his compensation valuation has been revised from the agreed sum of 4.6bn shillings to 2.8 bn shillings and that in October 2020, the said money was deposited on his account.

He has asked Kampala High court civil division to compel UNRA to pay him his 2.1bn shilling as agreed, 21 million in special damages and valuer fees and interest from 3rd September 2919 till full payments.

Court is yet to summon UNRA for defense.

Traffic officer assaulted by Maj.Gen.Kyaligonza demands 200M in compensation

By Sania Babirye
A female Traffic officer sgt. Esther Namaganda who is accusing the Ugandan Ambassador to Burundi Rt Maj. Gen Matayo Kyaligonza and his two body guards (CPL Busindiche Peter and Private John Okurut) of assaulting her and causing bodily injuries has gone to the high court civil division seeking over 200 million in compensation.

Through her lawyers of Thomas and Michael advocates, Namaganda is alleging that on the 24th of February 2019, she was allegedly arrested by the senior army retired officer and his two military police soldiers after she stopped them from making a U-turn in the middle of the road in Seeta in Mukono district.

The traffic officer in her suit claims that on that day, she singled the driver of Maj.Gen. Kyaligonza to make a proper turn but the driver instead, insisted on making the U-turn at Kobil fuel station.

She further claims that to her shock, major. Kyaligonza’s aids jumped out of the car and assaulted her and held her by her collar to drag her off the road as Kyaligonza looked on.
The traffic officer is claiming that she suffered severe pain in the eye, head and ear after the said incident which forced her to seek medical attention and examination from various hospitals including International hospital in Kampala (IHK) international diagnostic center, Shine international medical and surgical center for scan and injury management at her own cost.

She is also claiming that following the said incident, she suffered public embarrassment due to the abuse and humiliation caused to her. She is now seeking 1.2million as the total hospital bills and 200 million shillings in general and punitive damages.

Following the said incident, Kyaligonza and his two body guards were summoned by the Mukono Magistrate court to take plea to charges of assaulting Namaganda but to date neither him or his body guard have appeared in court to take plea forcing the court to issue a warrant of arrest for the senior soldier which also remains to be implemented.

Namaganda has became the second person to sue Kyaligonza for compensation after a journalist with Uganda broadcasting corporation On the 26th of March 2019, Peter Otai sued the controversial retired soldier seeking over 400 million shillings as damages for allegedly assaulting him during the same incident.

The suit followed after the said journalist claimed that he was also assaulted by the suspects as he recorded the retired senior soldier together with his two body guards assaulting the female traffic officer.

Otai who is also the station manager of Magic FM which is an affiliate station of the National Broadcaster (UBC) says the Maj.Gen and his bodyguards assaulted him while on duty after he recorded them assaulting Namaganda on the 24th of February 2019 at Seeta round-about and shared the absurd incident on different social media networks.

In a petition filed jointly with the Uganda Journalist Association (UJA) through their lawyer of Kiiza and Company advocates against Amb. Kyaligonza , his two guards and the Attorney General, Otai wants court to order the defendants to compensate him for the violating his fundamental rights to torture, ill-treatment and abstraction from executing his journalistic duties .

According to documents before court,the petitioner claims that he was shocked to Kyaligonza’s two body guards dresses in full UPDF military attire and the Ambassador slapping and cocking a gun to Namaganda.

And that it was this ill and cold treatment that prompted him and to take out his phone and started video recording the incident.

Otai further claims that when the two guards saw him , they confronted him by demanding to know who he was and he introduced himself as a journalist working with the National Broadcaster(UBC), but instead of letting him continue with his work, the guards surprisingly surrounded him , cocked their guns at him , slapped and kicked him with their Military boots while demanding that he deletes the videos and pictures he had taken .

He says that this was done as the crowd that had gathered watched on and by that time he was already fearing for his life when one of Kyaligonza’s guards drew a sword around his neck forcing him to run for his life.

He explains that in total fear, he run to the nearest Health facility and while there, he shared the assault video that went viral on social media networks .

These now want court to declare that Amb Kyaligonza’s actions including physical and verbal torture and threatening to injure the journalist amounted to an infringement of his rights and freedoms protected by the constitution.

The incident received a massive public criticism with members of Parliament asking President Museveni to recall Kyaligonza from Birundi while Women activists also demanded Maj.Gen.Kyaligonza’s resignation for allegedly assaulting a woman.

However, the controversial soldier in reply called the MPs stupid for asking President Museveni to recall him from Birundi .

Court orders MUK to compensate Nyanzi

By Sania Babirye

Makerere University has been ordered to pay costs to its jailed researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi after the university failed to file on time a response to her application against the University for refusing to re-instate her at her job.

The order has been issued by high court judge Lydia Mugambe after justice Mugambe dismissed submissions by university lawyer Hudson Musoke that he failed to file its written response because he was not notified in time.

The case had come up for hearing, however this could not go on because Hudson claimed to have been notified only yesyerday about the application giving him not enough time to file his written response.

But when she checked the court records, the judge discovered that indeed the university was served on the 20th of November 2018 .

As a result, justice Mugambe ordered Makerere to compesate Dr.Nyanzi for denying her a right to a speed trial and justice.

Mugambe further issued summons to the Director of Human Resource at Makerere to be cross examined on the evidence he tendered in his sworn affidavit opposing Nyanzi’s application.

In October this year , Makerere University’s appeal tribunal lifted her suspension and directed that she be be re-instated with all salary arrears paid and promoted to the level of a Fellow Researcher with immediate effect.

However , Makerere University did not honor the directives causing Dr.Nyanzi to sue the university.

Nyanzi is currently on remand at Luzira government prison on fresh charges of posting obscene birthday poem on Facebook where she attacked president M7 and his late mother and she has also refused to seek bail despite the judge advising her to do so .

The case has now been adjourned to the 9th of January 2019 for hearing.

Lusanja residents were wrongly evicted

By Alice Lubwama

Government has confirmed that the residents of Lusanja were illegally evicted by one businessman Medard Kiconco.

In his statement before parliament, the attorney general William Byaruhanga confirmed that the residents were illegally evicted and the judicial service commission has started disciplinary action against the chief magistrate Esther Nasambu and court registrar Rwatoro Baker for issuing an order that led to illegal eviction of residents of Lusanja.

The attorney general also said that the investigations discovered that the magistrate took a decision on the case without defenders filing a defense, declaring them as trespassers and ordering for demolition of their structures as wanted by Kiconco.

The investigations further found that the chief magistrate Esther Nasambu handled the case without visiting the site and lacked jurisdiction to handle the matter among others.

The judicial service commission has now preferred three charges against Nasambu among being conduct prejudicial to the good image of service, producing poor standard work and unsatisfactory performance of duty.

The attorney also said that the judiciary was still investigating the court bailiff Moses Kirunda who carried out the eviction adding that the case has been taken to the land division of the high court to seek justice.

The judiciary through their spokesperson also confirmed that the court order had been issued for the people of Sekayonyi zone in Mperererwe and not Lusanja.

However the Members of Parliament demanded that the police and other officers involved in the illegal eviction should also be punished and the people of Lusanja receive compensation.

This prompted the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to select a five member committee to draft a motion on how the residents in Lusanja who were illegally evicted should be compensated by government.

President’s office distances itself from minister Amongi’s claims about compensation

By Sania Babirye
The troubled Lands Minister Betty Amongi has been disowned by the office of the president in relation to withdrawing huge sums of tax payers money from the land fund  to compensate alleged claimants.
Minister Amongi had claimed that she was   directed  by the president’s  office while she was being grilled by the land probe commission over illegal compensations.
However while appearing before the same commission chaired by justice Catherine Bamugemeire, the principle private secretary to the president Molly Kamukama rather denied the allegations and explained that when petitions concerning land matters reach her office , she usually writes back and  directs the relevant ministry to manage, investigate the complaint and after investigations then writes a report back to the minister.
Kamukama revealed that instead,  minister Amongi undermined the  directives by directly taking it upon herself to withdraw money from the land fund without reporting back to the office of the president or being cleared by the same office as required.
Last week , Minister Betty Amongi told the land probe commission that  she  received several directives from the president to urgently pay- off beneficiaries of  the Uganda Land fund ; whose land has been taken over by government for either settlement or  economic development .
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has for that matter suggested to Kamukama that the office of the president should not  even wait for the commission’s report and recommendations  but to immediately  deal with such people who steal money from the land fund and deprive off the right beneficiaries.

Acholi ministers demand 726UGX compensation for their lost cows

Two ministers; Hillary Onek and Henry Oryem Okello, are demanding 726 million Shillings as compensation for 1,210 head of cattle lost to National Resistance Army (NRA) fighters during the bush war.

A dossier of the Acholi War Debts Claimants Association, a loose coalition comprising of 22,000 members, indicates that Henry Oryem, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs is seeking additional funds for 182 goats taken alongside his herd of 640 head of cattle.   Each animal is valued at 600,000 Shillings.

The document is however silent on whether the government officials are claiming livestock owned by their parents or not. It says Henry Okello is a member of the association from Lapana village in Pugoda parish in Namokora Sub County, Kitgum district.

Eng. Hillary Onek Obaloker, the Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Refugees and Relief, on the other hand was registered as a claimant in Lanywang West Village, Labigiryang parish in Palabek Kal Sub County, Lamwo district.

The Acholi War Debts Claimants Association was formed by 14 people in July 2005 to seek compensation from government for the property and livestock lost during the NRA-led rebellion which ended in 1986. Government has already agreed on an out-of-court settlement of 1.4 trillion Shillings in compensation for property and livestock lost during the war.

The claims are based on the fact that NRA soldiers who had just come to power in 1985, looted about 500,000 head of cattle, 12,000 goats, 2000 sheep and 200 pigs and destroyed a number of properties.

However, Joseph Ojara, a retired veterinary officer and member of the association in Gulu district says government facilitated many claimants to fraudulently inflate the number of their livestock by ignoring veterinary records of the last animal census conducted in 1989.

At least 10 billion shillings has been advanced to members through two different sets of leaders; Eng. Noah Opwonya and Norbert Adyera. In 2016, government conducted fresh verification of members in a bid to ascertain the extent of the claims.

But Dr Fredy Oyat, another member of the association says the silence on findings of the verification exercise is worrying. He appealed to government to make its findings public to facilitate payment of members.