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Commission Lead Counsel Wants Court to Dismiss Suit

According to Natukunda, the Commission ignored her plea to pick her children from School when she was arrested.

Audio 2

Ebert Byenkya, the Lead counsel of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters wants court to dismiss a suit against the land probe Commissioners.   

It follows a suit filed by Annette Natukunda, the wife to Ruta Ngambwa, the proprietor of Prime Housing Estate together with Immaculate Ayebazibwe, Irene Akiteng and Elly Ampurire before High court Civil Division on Monday citing their illegal arrest.

  The respondents to the suit are the Commission Chairperson, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Commissioners, Fredrick Ruhindi, Joyce Habaasa, Mary Ochan Oduka, Robert Sebunnya, George Bagonza and Dr. Rose Nakayi, the Commission Secretary, Dr. Douglas Singiza and a police officer only identified as Gumisiriza.     The four contend that they were arrested on March 12, 2019 when the Commission raided the offices of Prime Housing Estates in Masooli in Wakiso District.     

The Commissioners reportedly tasked Natukunda to explain the whereabouts of her husband before she was returned to her home for a search. 

According to Natukunda, the Commission ignored her plea to pick her children from School when she was arrested.  

The Commission stormed Ngambwa’s home after he ignored three summonses to appear, which forced the Commission chair to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Ngambwa had been summoned following his failure to comply with the directive to present names of his clients, sale agreements and titles indicating his ownership of land in Buwagga and Buso villages in Busukuma Sub county Wakiso District.

  Hundreds of residents petitioned the Commission after losing over 3.6 square Miles of land to Ngambwa.       The applicants want court to declare that the Commission overstepped its mandate when it caused their arrest and detention without trial. They are also seeking an order to be compensated for general and punitive damages.     The Commission lead counsel, Ebert Byenkya, says the commissioners acted within their mandate and therefore have no case to answer.  

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Byenkya says if arrests were made, it was by the police and not the Commissioners. He says police is entitled to conduct arrests basing on suspicion that someone has committed an offense. He however, said they were yet to be served with the suit.     Byenkya says the numerous suits filed against the Commission, will not affect its operations.

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Last year, a family dragged the Commission to the same court seeking orders to stop it from investigating a contested piece of land on Kyadondo block 100, plot 195.  

The affected family members including Richard Kiwanuka, Timothy Batalazze and Joshua Kyazze argued that investigating the matter before court would tantamount to subjudice. One of the family members had reported the matter to the land probe. 

In 2018 another, family from Wakiso sued the land probe for investigating a matter they had reported to court. The family led members led by Eria Mubiru had sued the National Forest Authority in 2017 for claiming part of their land, saying it is part of Kajjansi forest reserve. 

The contested land measured 350 acres and is found in Kajjansi in Wakiso District. The Commission of Inquiry act allows the Commission to carry out its own investigations and make recommendations despite the fact that cannot reverse court orders.