KAMPALA — The Commercial Division of the Court in Kampala has blocked Stanbic Bank and its agents from evicting an elderly woman, Agaba Halima whose land title in Kibuga Block 18 plot 697, Nateete was fraudulently mortgaged to the bank without her knowledge and consent.
Ms Flavia K. Nabakooza, the Commercial Court Registrar issued an interim order after considering the plea of the elderly woman due to be evicted by the Bank through bailiffs sent by their lawyers of Acadia Advocates, acting on behalf of the bank.
“….An interim order doth issue, restraining the Respondent, and its agents, servants, or any person acting on its behalf from (a) selling the suit land known as Kibuga block 18 plot 697 Nateete, and (b) evicting the applicant or interfering with her possession, use and quiet enjoyment of the suit land, until MA NO. 47 OF 2022 is heard inter parties on 24th of January, 2022 at 2:40 pm,” the Court directed.
The order has since been extended to February 20, 2022.
Documents tendered in Court have pinned brokers from Libra Court Bailiffs and Auctioneers, with a WhatsApp chat on court record showing that they were conniving to sale the property at Shs 1.6 billion and share commission proceeds with bank officials and lawyers.
Ms Halima Agaba, who is elderly, has since requested for the intervention of President Museveni the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to rescue her from the fraud she says is orchestrated by the bank.
Ms. Halima Agaba, a resident of Nateete in Lubaga Division through her lawyers M/S Waymo Advocates ran to court—jointly suing Stanbic Bank Uganda and her foster son Francis Agaba—asking Court to declare that the impugned mortgage of her land comprised in Kibuga block 18 plot 697 Nateete is illegal and or fraudulent —also listing concrete grounds to her defense.
Documents submitted to court show that Halima is the registered proprietor of the suit land which is a family land where she ordinarily resides with her family.
Halima told court that she helped to raise Francis Agaba after he lost his biological parents at an early age.
Agaba lived with and was brought up as a son by Halima until he became independent.
In 2018, Halima says that she left her certificate of title of the suit land with Agaba for transfer to her names and for safe custody having trusted him as a son. In November 2019, Agaba advised Halima to sign a formal document showing she has left the title with him for safe custody. Later on, court documents show that Agaba came to Halima’s home in Nateete with some documents written in English for her to sign which he said was to formalize the safe custody of the title.
Documents also show that Agaba intentionally did not translate the said document to Halima in Rukiga before signing yet he knows Halima is illiterate in English language.
“Having trusted Agaba as a son, Halima signed the said document in Agaba’s presence believing that it was to formalize safe custody of her title. After signing, Agaba took all copies leaving none to Halima on the pretext that he needed to register them first,” the court documents further state.
Later in February 2020, Agaba informed Halima that he had borrowed UGX900M from the bank and deposited her title as security and that the document Halima had signed earlier was a mortgage agreement
“Since Halima did not authorize Agaba to deposit the title with the bank or mortgage it, she got furious and ordered Agaba to return her title immediately unencumbered as the suit land is a family property. Agaba informed Halima that he had used the loan to make supplies to government schools in Northern Uganda and that the schools were on the verge of paying him immediately”
“Agaba firmly assured Halima that sooner than later, he would have paid off the loan, redeemed and returned Halima’s title to her. Since then till now, Agaba has not returned Halima’s suit title to her claiming the bank is yet to release the title,” the court documents state.
Halima insisted that she has never deposited her title with the bank for any reason neither has she ever appeared at the bank to request for or negotiate the alleged loan or mortgage—telling off Stanbic Bank Uganda to return her title and sort themselves with Agaba since the land transaction was illegal, null and void in.
“No other person except Agaba was present when Halima was signing the alleged mortgage deed and the affixed stamp of the alleged witness is a falsified attestation”, documents further say.
Working with Agaba, the controversial land transaction is said to have been negotiated and frustrated by Kenneth Kawalya, Nassanga Margaret, Joshua Kitamirike, Edgar Isagara and the recovery team all workers of Stanbic Bank Uganda who are believed to be behind this fraud.
Halima says the documents brought up for signing were not translated to her contrary to ss. 3 & 4 of Illiterates Protection Act and that the full name and address of the person who wrote the deed is not stated contrary to ss. 3 & 4 of Illiterates Protection Act.
Halima’s signature was not as a witness contrary to s. 147 of RTA by whoever affixed his or her stamp
“The signature of the alleged witness is scribbled contrary to s. 148 of RTA.
Halima further contends that the impugned mortgage is tainted with fraud in so far as Agaba lied to Halima that the mortgage deed was a document to formalize safe custody of her title well knowing she is illiterate in the English language
She also insists that the troubled Agaba intentionally refused to explain the correct nature and meaning of
the mortgage deed to her and that he connived with the bank staff to defraud her property.
Halima has also castigated Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited for failing to make inquiries from her as the registered owner/mortgagor before executing the mortgage.
“Falsified attestation and scribbled signatures contrary to ss. 147 & 148 of RTA….and intentionally omitting a certificate of translation and the true and full name of the person who wrote the mortgage deed contrary to ss. 3 & 4 of Illiterates Protection Act yet the defendants knew or ought to have known that Halima is illiterate”, the document says—noting that Agaba connived with the bank to deceptively create a mortgage over the suit land.
Halima avers that she has suffered great hardship, inconvenience, stress and mental anguish due to the fraudulent conduct of Stanbic Bank Uganda and Agaba for which she holds them jointly and severally liable in damages.
“The cause of action arose in Kampala within the jurisdiction of this court and the value of the subject matter exceeds UGX 400,000,000,” the documents add—with Halima too, praying court to declare that the mortgage of the suit land is illegal, null and void and of no legal effect.
She also wants the Court to declare that the impugned mortgage is tainted with fraud but also issue an order setting aside the mortgage.
Halima also wants court to order Stanbic Bank Uganda to deliver Halima’s certificate of title to her and set a permanent injunction restraining the bank, its agents or servants from entering, alienating, dealing and or in any way interfering with Halima’s ownership, use and or quiet possession and enjoyment of the suit land.
Other demands include general damages with interest at court rate from the date of judgment till full payment, exemplary damages with interest at court rate from the date of judgment till full payment, costs of the suit and further relief court may deem fit.