Ex-Banker, Judge Kania named in Madi Okollo land saga
By Our Reporter
MADI OKOLLO. The locals of Biacici village, Yachi Parish, Ogoko Sub County in Madi Okollo district have appealed to the government of Uganda to consider cancelling the land title acquired by Augustine Asea, a former bank manager in Arua city.
The locals alleged that Asea fraudulently acquired a land title in which he claimed ownership of 167.5098 Hectares (about 413.7745 acres) of land belonging to the community members of the area.
The locals further alleged that Asea captured access roads they used to rely on including River Alaa and extended ownership of the land across the river in Alijoda cell, Inde Town Council still in Madi Okollo district, all in his title.
Four neighbors and the landlords who initially sold only 23 acres of land to Asea in three phases of 10 acres, 5 acres and later 8 acres are also claiming to have been swallowed into the former bank manager’s fraudulent title.
According to Silverio Andrua, the Biacici village chairperson, Asea bought the 23 acres of land from Patrick Pariyo, Neckeon Asiku and Kennedy Malunga on different occasions in between 2015 to 2018 before extending to claim other areas which he later sold to different people.
“He requested to process the title for the 23 acres of land but to our dismay, Asea grabbed most of my people’s land in his title including his neighbors, our access roads and a section of river Alaa. When we realized that Asea’s intention was to grab our land, we became conscious of any person he brings here to buy the land,” Andrua said.
He noted that Asea first attempted to sell the land to the owner of one of the bus companies in Arua and when the man came on ground and realized that there was a problem, he abandoned the idea of buying the land.
Andrua said later Asea sold the contested land to Rosette Comfort Kania, a High Court Judge who later transferred the fraudulent title into her name without their knowledge.
Now Pariyo, one of the landlords wants the government to cancel the title, saying it was fraudulently obtained by Asea whose intention is to grab their ancestral land
“The only piece of land we sold to Asea if combined together is 23 acres, not over 160 Hectares as he is claiming. For us we are ready to die over our land if the government doesn’t come to our rescue to cancel the fake title which is now being used by Rosette Comfort Kania,” Pariyo said.
After meeting resistance on ground, Kania has now taken the matter to court accusing one of the landlords in the area of grabbing part of her contested land.
“We received instructions from Wilfred Eneku to defend him in civil suit number 19 of 2023. This instruction we received around August this year. He informed us and brought us documents from court which showed that he was sued by Rosette Comfort Kania and the suit against him was for orders that he is to be declared as a trespasser on about 60 acres of land which is registered and titled in Biacici plot no.13 FRV ARU 25 in Madi Okollo,” Samuel Ondoma of Alaka and Co. Advocates, the Lawyer representing Eneku said.
“The plaintiff, that is Rosette Comfort Kania also sought orders from court that she be declared as the owner of the land and that Eneku illegally constructed a residential house on her land without her permission and without physical planning and she also wants High Court to declare and remove the caveat which was filed by Eneku and other people on that land,” Ondoma stressed.
He said Kania alleges that she bought the land from Augustine Asea whom she says was the initial registered owner of the land in question.
“That after she bought the land, she transferred the title in her names after buying the land in around January 2020 and that without her consent, Eneku started constructing a building on her land and also started planting crops on the land and that as a result of that action, she has suffered a lot of damages and wants Eneku to pay her profits and damages,” Ondoma explained.
However, when contacted on phone, Renato Kania, the Lawyer representing Rosette Comfort Kania declined to comment on the matter.
“I can’t give any comment on this matter to the media, sorry! I decline,” Kania said on Friday.
But Ondoma noted that when they received the instructions from Eneku, they immediately filed a defense in that regard.
“Eneku clearly told us that he bought his land even before Rosette Comfort Kania acquired this land and according to him, Asea Augustine fraudulently acquired this land and that he robbed that land from the community in that area. Asea Augustine didn’t buy the land from the community members and that for him, he bought his land in December 2018 after properly doing due diligence after thorough consultation with customary owners of the land and the community members who confirmed to him that the land has no problem,” Ondoma stated.
“Eneku bought the land from the customarily owners Silverio Andrua, Girism Ambayo, Nelson Agondua and Ramandan Asiku and after buying, he took a surveyor to inspect the land and they inspected the land. It was discovered that there was no title on this land, so he duly paid all the purchase price and after he bought this land, Eneku put on that land a residential building and he started planting Eucalyptus trees, fruit trees like guava, oranges, mangoes on the land, all with full knowledge of Asea Augustine and Asea Augustine didn’t complain,” Ondoma remarked.
The matter came up before Her Worship, Loe Karungi, the Deputy Registrar of Arua High Court last week and the parties were given two weeks to return for witness scheduling on November 9 and later for mention on November 30, 2023.
For more than two weeks of investigating this matter, we were not in position to get a comment from Asea over the allegations since his known telephone number couldn’t be reached after several days of trying.