The commissioner land registration in the Ministry of Lands on Tuesday ordered for the cancellation of titles obtained by city businessman Hamis Kiggundu on Kabaka’s land in Kigo.
Earlier this year, Buganda kingdom stopped Kiggundu from constructing a road between Mirembe Villas and Serena hotel in Kigo to gain access to the disputed land after he had claimed that he was working with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to construct this road off Entebbe Expressway.
Ham however claimed the land was his, prompting the Kabaka of Buganda , the owner of the land to petition the commissioner of land registration seeking cancelation of the four titles.
Represented by Edwin Karugire and Sebuufu Usaama from K&K Advocates, the Kabaka argued that the titles issued to Kiham Enterprises Limited owned by Hamis Kiggundu under freehold tenure were overlapping his titles under the Mailo tenure which is illegal.
In his ruling on Tuesday, the commission for land registration ruled that it is clear that Kabaka’s land titles date as far as the 1920s whereas Kiham’s titles were created in 2019, making the former superior.
The commissioner also ruled that it was illegal for the freehold titles to be created on a wetland.
“It is therefore, my finding that even if the land was public land, Wakiso District Land Board illegally gave out in grant of freehold to Kiham the subject land when the same is a wetland. It was therefore, illegal for Wakiso Ministry Zonal Office to title land which was a wetland on recommendation of the land board.”
Emphasizing the wetland, the commissioner said a large part of the land measuring 1928.403 acres on Mailo titles is a wetland .
The commissioner explained that Mailo land titles relate back to the 1900 Buganda allocations and were issued in the 1920s .
He noted that section 44(4) of the Land Act which prohibits lease of any part of those resources like wetlands does not apply to the Mailo land titles by Kabaka since this provision was enacted after the titles were in existence, noting that they have a retrospective effect unlike the freehold titles issued in 2019 to Ham’s company.
The commissioner noted that a communication from the secretary for the Wakiso District Land Board indicates the land falls in Makindye Ssabagabo and by that jurisdiction, the area land committee ought to have handled applications for freehold titles which was the case.
The commissioner ruled there were irregularities in creating the freehold land titles.
“It was procedurally wrong or illegal for Kajjansi Town Council to area land committee to handle an application which doesn’t fall within its jurisdiction without prejudice to the fact that they didn’t sign. This goes to the root of the title. It renders the application fundamentally illegal,” he ruled.
He therefore noted that the freehold titles were issued illegally on top of the Mailo titles already existing and owned by the Kabaka.
“By the powers conferred upon me under S.91 of the Land Act, having found that the certificate of titles comprised in Kyadondo Block 273 plots 23974, 23975, 23976, and 23977 subdivided from plot 23720 were illegally issued, I hereby order that the same be cancelled and expunged from the register book forthwith,” the commissioner directed.