The High Court in Jinja has ordered the cancellation of a land title that a Jinja controversial Asian tycoon, Jay Maganlal Patel, had obtained over 13-acre -plot 24, along Kyabazinga Way in Jinja City.
In civil suit filed by Tirupati Development Uganda Ltd , the former asked Court to pronounce that Thummar Patel (defendant)’s acquisition of a title on Plot 24 B Kyabazinga Way in Nalufenya near the Nile bridge in Jinja City was illegal and deceitful.
The controversy stemmed from the issuance of freehold title over the above-mentioned land to Patel over running lease of Jinja municipal council and a sub-lease to Tirupati development.
Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko on Monday, August 16, ruled that Tirupati Development Uganda Ltd, a real estate and construction company, is the rightful owner of the land by virtue of a sub-lease with Jinja Municipal council, which is still subsisting and Patel’s title was fraudulently procured.
‘’In conclusion, I find and order as follows; the suit land belongs to the plaintiff as a sub-lessee. That defendant’s (Patel) freehold title comprised FRV JJA478 Folio 1 Plot 24B Kyabazinga way, Jinja Municipal council, Jinja District was fraudulently and illegally obtained. The defendant hands over freehold register volume JJA478 Folio 1 in the name of Thummar Patel Jay Mangalal of P.O.BOX.38, Jinja plot 24B,Kyabazinga highway ,Jinja District to the commissioner of land registration to effect cancellation of the said land title over the suit property’’, reads in part the judgment.
The complainants sought a permanent declaration restraining the defendant from interfering with their quiet enjoyment of their suit property and asked for general damages for fraud and trespass.
A section of Jinja Local Government officials led by Town Clerk Ambrose Ochen were earlier grilled by the Land Commission of Inquiry for presiding over a council on 15th June 2020 to determine the fate of the contested land ,whose resolution had also been challenged by other relevant authorities and the Plaintiff.
The officials are accused of being part of the process together with the land board members which fraudulently facilitated the transfer of land to businessman Patel to build a shopping mall at 7.5 billion while the Jinja municipal council had released the same land to Tirupati development for the construction of a public recreation centre.
It should be remembered that the former Jinja Mayor Hajji Majid Batambuze while appearing before the Commission of Land Inquiry also dismissed the 15 June, 2020 special council convened by the Speaker Moses Bizitu as illegitimate since the Government had issued a circular halting all land related transactions during the lockdown.
Tirupati lawyers also brought to the attention of Ochen a forensic handwriting report which noted that the free leasehold title to Thummar Mangala Jay Patel is not the Chairperson District Land Board’s signature.
The Forensic report also indicated that the council meeting minutes were forged
Turipati Development Uganda Limited earlier dragged Jinja Municipal Council to the Commission of inquiry into land matters, accusing the former of disposing off land on which he owned a 25-year lease, to Mr Patel to build a shopping mall.
Documents show a sub-lease for 25 years was granted to Tirupati, starting October 31, 2007. JMC had the head lease, having obtained it from Jinja District Land Board.
Several Technocrats were implicated for being responsible for the transaction that has since been proven fraudulent by court including testimonies of the officials in various public hearings conducted by the Commission of Inquiry into land matters.
The commission learnt from the then Jinja District land board chairperson Ndiko Ngobi that some members of the board received a bribe, connived and fraudulently transferred the land ownership to Patel concluding that the said land transfer was illegal.
The plaintiff was represented by Sebuliba Kiwanuka and Fahad Siraj of Aegis Advocates and Simon Peter Sekidde of Sekidde Associated Advocates. The defendant was represented by Sylvester Henry Wambuga and Henry Nyegenye of M/S Arcadia Advocates.
Justice Rwakakooko said the process of title acquisition on which Patel was based to lay claim over the land was fraudulent and unlawful.
Court also ordered Patel to pay Shs10m as general damages and meet costs of the suit.