Commission Grills Mukono Businessman Over Brutal Land Evcitions

Banobas testimony contradicted evidence on a 41 minute video footage presented to the Commission by Umar Ssebuyungo, an Operations Officer in the Uganda Peoples Defense Reserve Force showing men destroying peoples houses and plantations.

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The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission has grilled city businessman, Dick Kihangire Banoba for the brutal eviction of dozens of families in Nama Sub-County in Mukono District. Banoba is accused of brutally evicting over 30 families from 488-acres of land with the help of police officers.

He appeared before the Commission on Wednesday following complaints by the family of the late Ham Mukasa, which is contesting the title in Banoba's possession and another by other evictees who accuse him of wrongfully eviction.  

Several victims have already appeared before the Commission accusing Banoba of illegally evicting them and demanding Shillings 30 million in compensation from each of them for allegedly trespassing on his land. 

While appearing before the Commission, Banoba explained that he sued 21 people and secured a court requiring them to vacate his land. He denied razing down resident's houses and destroying their crop gardens.

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Banoba's testimony contradicted evidence on a 41 minute video footage presented to the Commission by Umar Ssebuyungo, an Operations Officer in the Uganda People's Defense Reserve Force showing men destroying people's houses and plantations.

Challenged on the evidence from the footage by the Commission Lead Counsel, Ebert Byenkya, Banoba insisted that the occupants willingly vacated the land after realizing that they were illegal settlers.

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The Commission also learnt that Bonoba only claims 398 out of the contested 488 acres of land.  He told the Commission that he entered a transaction with Dr. Emmanuel Lumu Sajjalyabeene in 1971 to buy the land. According to Banoba, the initial deal covered 130 acres.  He claimed that they later entered another transaction in 1973 for an additional 398 acres of land and even received the transfer forms.

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The Commission established that transfer forms of the first land acquisition were conducted days before Dr. Lumu was taken to prison, which raised suspicion. Byekya also observed that the same land changed ownership to different people at the time Dr. Lumu was in prison before it finally got back into Banoba's hands.

Asked whether there was a sales agreement between him and Dr. Lumu of the transaction, Banoba said that wasn't the norm then, a claim Commissioner, Robert Ssebunya dismissed.

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The Commission presented a sworn affidavit by Vivian Kityo, the daughter of Dr. Lumu denying claims that her father sold land to Banoba. The affidavit also indicated that Dr. Lumu didn't own land on block 189 plot 57 in Lwanyonyi but rather in Kasenge, Mukono District. Byenkya read the affidavit read the verbatim.

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