Kampala- Dr Muhammad Buwule Kasasa, who is battling the family of former Buganda King Edward Mutesa II over ownership of a square mile of land in Mutungo, Kampala, says he will not return to the commission inquiring into land matters because it might jeopardise his case in the High Court.
Dr Kasasa was sued by Prince David Wasajja, one of Mutesa’s sons, and a sitting tenant on the land, Ms Tereza Serwadda separately sued the same person.
The court cases aside, Dr Kasasa has also been required to appear before the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission to explain various matters regarding the same land.
Dr Buwule’s lawyers now say their client will not appear before the commission anymore.
The lawyers, S K Kiiza and Co Advocates, have written thus in response to their client’s summons to appear before the commission: “…since he appeared before the commission and gave his side of the story, that should be enough to enable the commission make its report and recommendations. Our client should thus be excused from further appearing before the commission to avoid being caught up by the sub-judice rule since the land in question is already a subject of suits.”
The summons, dated March 3, direct Dr Kasasa to appear with relevant documents pertaining to his interest on the land comprised in Mutungo Hill, dispute with bibanja holders of land in Mutungo Hill and any other information relevant to the case.
However, Dr Kasasa said the information already availed was enough for the probe to pronounce itself on the matter.
“…the commission is not in position to determine who is and who is not a kibanja owner on our clients land. In the event that the commission, insists on our client’s appearance before the commission he will not hesitate to seek legal redress from the courts of law,” says a letter copied to the Principal Private Secretary to the President, the Chief Justice and Principal Judge, among others.
According to Dr Kasasa, the land probe’s mandate is limited to inquiring into effectiveness of law, policies, and processes of land acquisition, administration, management and registration but not entertaining disputes.
Although the summons warn of an offence in-case of failure to appear at the land probe, Dr Kasasa said the commission was overstepping its mandate.
The Secretary of the Land Commission, Dr Douglas Singiza, confirmed receiving said letter.
“Every person is a compellable witness,” Dr Singiza said, adding that the decision to compel Dr Kasasa would be made next week.
The land probe is trying to establish whether due process was followed while government was buying 12 acres of land on top of Mutungo Hill in 2002 at Shs2.4b.
Although government had been occupying the land since 1996, government formalised the purchase with Dr Kasasa in 2008.
While appearing before the commission, Dr Kasasa faulted government’s failure to pay in time as the cause for failure to transfer the land in its names.
According to Dr Kasasa, if government paid in 1996, they would be having a title in their names.
Prince David Wassajja dragged Dr Kasasa to the land probe, accusing him of illegally acquiring his father’s one square piece of land in Mutungo.
After receiving Wasajja’s petition, the commission stopped payment of Shs8b in interest to Dr Kasasa, which has since increased to Shs24.6b, according to the Deputy Attorney General, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana.