Breaking

Masaka High Court Halts Approval of New District Land Board

Top story
Peter Ssenkungu, the former chairman of the district land board dragged Masaka District Administration to court challenging his dismissal by the district council headed by Chairman Jude Mbabaali. The council accused his committee of fraudulently allocating public land and gazetted greenbelts to developers.
L-R Peter Ssenkungu , Former Masaka District land board chairperson
High Court in Masaka has halted the nomination and approval of members of the new District Land Board (DLB) until a case challenging the appointment of another board is disposed of.

The decision was announced through a restraining order issued by Assistant High Court Registrar Beatrice Stella Atingu.

Peter Ssenkungu, the former chairman of the district land board dragged Masaka District Administration to court challenging his dismissal by the district council headed by Chairman Jude Mbabaali. The council accused his committee of fraudulently allocating public land and gazetted greenbelts to developers.

The queried transactions included an allocation of over 150 hectares of land at 250,000 Shillings to Noeline Ndagire and another allocation of 235 hectares at 200,000 Shillings to Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi. The two later sold the land to Pastor Samuel Kakande at over 70 million and 80 Million Shillings respectively.  

Queries were also raised on the allocation of land around Lake Birinzi to Bukoto South MP Hajji Muyanja Mbabaali and the sale of another piece of land which had been allocated to the production department for the establishment of a pig abattoir project.

But Ssenkungu, through his lawyers; Kateete & Ssekitto Advocates, stated that he was not given a fair hearing before his board was disbanded. He asked the court to block the approval of the new District Land Board.

Today, an interim order issued by Masaka High Court halted any processes leading to the approval of a new District Land Board until the main application is disposed of.

Jude Mbabaali says that the tenure of office for the Ssenkungu-led committee ended on April 14, 2017, and that the council followed the right procedure to replace the outgoing members.

He had nominated a team chaired by former High Court Judge Justice Kibuuka Musoke to lead the new District Land Board. His other nominees were the vice rector Bukalasa Seminary, Rev Fr Henry Ssebwana, Human rights lawyer Adrian Juuko, Dr Owen Sseremba, a lecturer at Makerere University, and  Maria Nalubowa, the deputy headteacher of St Jude Primary School, Masaka.

However, the district council rejected the nominees on alleged sectarian grounds and bribery. The councillors accused Jude Mbabaali of nominating members of the Catholic denomination adding that some of the members had bribed their way to the board.

They directed that Mbabaali names a new team putting into consideration all religious denominations and conduct of the nominees. But Mbabaali declined to change the list of nominees stating that he consulted widely and established that the individuals he nominated were incorruptible and form the perfect team to address challenges facing Masaka district Land board.

He added that much as Members of his Party; the Democratic Party wanted to be appointed to the board as a political reward, the state of land management needed more than political appreciation.