The high court in Gulu has today ruled that Madhvani group of company should face trial over allegations that it fraudulently acquired land in Amuru district.
Justice Wilson Musene has ordered Madhvani group of companies to answer for the fraudulent acquisition of land in Amuru district.
He made the ruling this morning while delivering judgment in a case in which, Madhvani was jointly sued with Julius Oketa, UPDF MP, Christine Atimango, the secretary Amuru land board and the Amuru district land board for theft of communal land.
In 2008, Amuru Sugar a subsidiary of Madhvani acquired 20,000 hectares of land in Amuru district to grow sugar cane and establish a sugar factory.
Four Acholi MPs including, Michael Ocula, Concy Aciro, Simon Oyet and David Penytoo and two other residents petitioned court over the matter.
The complainants secured an injunction barring Madhvani from carrying out any activities on the disputed land. Court also barred Amuru district land board from any further allocation of land.
Yesterday Paul Kutesa, the counsel for Madhvani Sugar Company Limited said high court didn’t have the mandate to hear a case of this nature saying that it was only parliament that enforces Rights and Freedom for its Citizens to occupation.
He asked high court to dismiss the case or refer the matter to the constitutional court.
But Alfred Okello Oryem and Judith Oroma, the counsels for the applicant said that their clients had the right to petition high court in the manner they did because the rights of their people were infringed upon.
In his ruling today, Justice Wilson Musene ruled that High court will proceed with the case adding that it would be naive and unjust to dismiss the case as demanded by the defendants.
While the ruling was received by a wild applause from many people who jammed the courtroom, a few others, mainly the accused parties said it was not fair. Simon Oyet, one of the complainants said they were excited by the ruling calling it a step towards justice for the aggrieved land owners.
Joseph Byamugisha, lawyer for Julius Oketta, said they would appeal the ruling in the court of appeal.
Justice Musene observed that the four parties were free to launch an appeal to the ruling.
He said a mention of the ruling would take place on June 6. He also stressed that no activity should proceed on the contested land and the land board stays away from allocating more land.