Ministry of Lands Property Attached After Failure to Pay its Debts

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The Ministry of lands has been forced to deposit two land titles as an assurance that they will pay their debt arising from their failure to pay one Stephen Mukalagi for land he sold to the Ministry.

State Minister For Lands Hon. Aida Nantaba
State Minister For Lands Hon. Aida Nantaba

The Ministry went ahead to transfer the title to its names after making a partial payment of only Shs200m out of over Shs600m.

After incessant follow up for his balance, Mukalagi sued the Ministry of Lands and won the suit in court.

Court ordered that the Ministry pays the Shs442m balance, costs of Shs33m and interest of Shs35.6m bringing the total to Shs511m.

After a further delay in payment, the same court had issued a freezing order (garnishee) on the Accounts of Ministry of Lands on February 13, 2015 directing Bank of Uganda to use whatever money was on the account at the time of issuing the order to pay the Shs511.3m debt before it could be allowed to re-use the account.

The Ministry’s Senior Accountant Mr. Tabaro pleaded with the High Court Execution and Bailiffs Division Registrar Tom Chemtai to lift the freezing order he had slapped against the Ministry’s accounts.

In his plea, Tabaro said; “The ministry cannot perform its functions well after the freezing order was slapped on its operating account. Right now there is money we are expecting from Bank of Uganda, but the Bank says it cannot release that money to us because of the garnishee order.”

He further said that the Ministry cannot even pay employees’ salaries because of this order and pleaded that it is lifted as they sort out the debt problem.

Chemtai wondered why the Ministry had refused to pay the debt to which Isaac Kafeero the Ministry’s lawyer replied that they had appealed the ruling that awarded the said money to their creditor Stephen Mukalagi.

Chemtai insisted that Mukalagi be given security for his money thereby forcing Tabaro to agree to handover two title deeds of the Ministry’s pieces of land.

“Upon hearing the submissions of Counsel for the plaintiff/judgment creditor (Mukalagi’s lawyers) Rashid Babu and Counsel for the defendant/judgment debtor (Uganda Land Commission) Isaac Kafeero and George Muhangi in the presence of Tabaro, Senior Accountant of the Ministry, on this March 12, 2015, it is hereby ordered as follows;(…) that the Judgment debtor (Lands Ministry) deposit to this court a certificate of title comprised in Kibaale Block 258 Plot 19 land at Bugangayizi and Buluuli Block 12 Plot 1 Land at Nakasongola both in the name of Uganda Land Commission to act as security,” Chemtai ordered on last Thursday.

The court instructed a Court Bailiff Moses Mutesasira of Mutesasira Associates to pick the title deeds from the Ministry of Lands and by press time he had already secured them.

Ministry of Lands lawyer Kafeero however unsuccessfully objected to the depositing of the security in court claiming he is already appealing the judgment which led to the award of this money.

Registrar maintained that the award was made by a court of competent jurisdiction.

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