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Investment Authority on the spot for frustrating local investor from developing Namanve land

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has come into the spotlight after recent evidence presented in court pinned the Government entity on frustrating the development of the industry-fertile Namanve land by a local investor.

According to information obtained by this publication, UIA leased two plots of land in Namanve Industrial Park, in Mukono district, to Tirupati Development (U) Ltd in 2011 but never issued them with the land title.

However, the authority in a fraudulent manner instead sold the same piece of land to Creston Properties Limited when it signed an initial lease agreement on 22/8/2014 and later a 49-year lease agreement on 26th June 2020.

The genesis of the matter all began when Tirupati Development (U) Ltd applied to get Kyagwe Block 113 plots No. A019 and A020 situated at Namanve – Kiwanga-Mawutu, Nantabulirwa, Goma Division, Mukono Municipality, Mukono district.

The two plots measure approximately 1.5 acres and 10 acres respectively.

Correspondences were shared and Uganda Investment Authority invoiced Tirupati in 2012. Tirupati made the payments and commenced preparation for the development of the land.

Efforts by Tirupati to secure the land titles from Uganda Investment Authority didn’t yield anything, with the latter deliberately refusing to issue the land titles to Tirupati. This prompted Tirupati to go to court for remedial.

The case sought to address two issues; whether Uganda Investment Authority is in breach of the lease of agreement it executed with Tirupati and whether there are remedies available for Tirupati, the plaintiff.

A case, Civil Suit No. 335 of 2021 in the high court of Uganda at Mukono was instituted. And on 21st July 2023, before Justice Florence Nakachwa, a ruling was delivered with Tirupati (the plaintiff) winning the case.

According to the ruling, the defendant neither filed its written statement of defence nor entered a physical appearance in court despite effective service of the court process.

Submitting as a witness, a director of Tirupati told the court that since 2014, Tirupati was denied access to the land and that Uganda Investment Authority instructed its agents not to allow the Plaintiff access to the land.

The witness added that due to Uganda Investment Authority’s actions, Tirupati lost business and money invested in the project and suffered huge inconveniences and income that would have been earned.

Justice Nakachwa in the ruling said, “In the present case, the evidence adduced especially the correspondences from the defendant to the plaintiff clearly shows that the lease agreement was concluded in or around 2011/2012 and the plaintiff was given the go-ahead to develop the suit land,”

“The evidence on record further shows that the plaintiff requested the land title in order to register its leasehold title but to date, it has not been handed over to the defendant. This has frustrated its continuance to develop and use the suit land for its business or investment,”

“The defendant’s refusal to hand over the land title to the plaintiff to enable it to have its name registered as the leasehold owner of the land and later withdrawing the plaintiff’s possession of the suit land, in essence, means the defendant defaulted in fulfilling its obligation under the lease agreement to give vacant possession of the said land to the plaintiff as it was required. This failure has deprived the plaintiff of its leasehold ownership of the suit land and thus putting the plaintiff’s activities on the suit land at a stand-still,”

“In the instant case, the plaintiff being the successful party is entitled to the costs of the suit. Having found both issues in the plaintiff’s favour, judgment is hereby entered for the plaintiff and I hold that the defendant is in breach of the lease agreement between it and the plaintiff.”

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