Makindye court acquits 4 on charges of fraudulent obtaining of Land Titles

Makindye court acquits 4 on charges of fraudulent obtaining of Land Titles

Makindye Magistrates Court has acquitted four individuals who have been facing charges of fraudulent procurement of title on NSSF land.

The five who have been acquited are Bogere Moses , Lubowa Muhammad Kityo, Namanya Betty , Nakanwagi Daphine and Onyango Patrick.

Prosecution in the matter has been alleging that between the years of 2015 and 2019 at different places in Wakiso district, the accused fraudulently procured a certificate of title of land comprised in FRV WAK 6104 Folio 24 Block 269 plots 3234-3240 the property of the National Social Security fund.

Patrick Onyango was accused of assisting the other four to fraudulently procure a certificate of title of land comprised in FRV WAK 6104 Folio 24 Block 269 plots 3234-3240 property of the National Social Security fund

By falsely creating a Job Record Jacket file in respect of the said land without following the requisite procedure for making such Job Record Jacket files.

These denied the charges, hearing commenced and Prosecution produced nine witnesses whose evidence guided court in coming up with its final decision.

On dismissing the matter, His Worship Arinaitwe Elisha the trial grade one Magistrate noted that the that there the Prosecution evidence presented was manifestly unreliable and no reason tribunal that can convict a person basing on such evidence.

“PW2 stated that attention was drawn to the file in respect of Uganda Block 269 Plots 3234-3240 while a routine consultation with a one Janat Nabuuma a senior land Registration of Titles yet he was summoned by police and recorded a statement in respect this matter. He stated that when he recorded the first statement, he went to his office and discovered other documents.”

That later on the evidence of PW4 revealed that its PW2 who brought to her attention the anomalies yet he maintained that she is the one who brought those anomalies to his attention which raised questions.

“PW8 stated that at first the PID7 and its documents were handed out to him by Katungi. Later, he changed and said the file was handed out to him by Mr. Ssekito head legal. He stated that he recorded statement of Tayebwa on 9th March, 2021 yet investigating officer joined the unit in April, 2021. Court wondered how this witness could record evidence and yet at the time he wasn’t a member of the unit.”

Court therefore stated that these contradiction and many others on record, taint evidence of such witnesses with suspicion.

“The mode of recovery of documents, mode of custody of evidence specifically the experts report, inconsistencies in evidence of witnesses which caused them to lose credibility in the eyes of court and the failure to examine the documents uploaded on the system as against sample signatures and stamps, was the turning point of this case.”

Considering the above circumstances and on the case of Woolmington V DPP 1935 AC 462 which has been adopted by all courts across the divide practicing common law the doubt in the matter was resolved in favor of the accused persons.

“For these reasons that I have labored to explain above and other many reasons manifestly on record, I find no case against all the accused persons and I acquit them forthwith.” Ruled court.

Background

This legal battles between NSSF and the above ‘customary owners of land’ namely started way back s around 2015 when they applied for issuance of certificate of title which later was issued in 2019.

In January 2020, Commissioner land Registration cancelled the title for land comprised in FRV WAK 6104 Folio 24 Block 269 Plots 323-3240.

These later filed a court case against the Registrar’s decision via Miscellaneous cause 227 of 2020 before High Court seeking for orders quashing the registrar’s decision, an order of mandamus requiring the Registrar to restore their title.

The trial judge Musa Ssekaana in his ruling quashed the decision of Land Registrar cancelling the applicants’ title

“In the premise I find that the respondent had no right to cancel the Applicants’ certificate of title on the basis of forgery, I her grant this application with costs.” ruled Ssekaana on 18th December 2020.

After the titles were re-instated, NSSF petitioned Anti corruption Unit alleging that these titles were fraudulently issued on their land.

In 2021 ,the above individuals were slapped with fresh charges of fraudulently obtaining land titles , forgery, uttering false documents and conspiracy to commit a felony against the five under File number GEF 2021.

However on 5th November 2021, the five with charged a fresh four others vide Criminal Case Number 1256/2021 and later on in July 2022 , the charge sheet was amended to include civil servants from Wakiso District namely; Kawooya Shaban , Kabonge Leonard , Namukasa Nalongo , Gilbert Kasozi , Dr.Batume Joseph Kizito and Katabalwa Miiro Herbert.

This was done with inclusion of new charges; Fraudulent procurement of a land title and Abuse of Herbert. The DPP later dropped charges against the new accused persons who later acted as Prosecution witnesses in the case that was disposed off on Wednesday 17th April 2024.

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