KAMPALA – Businessman Amos Nzeyi on Wednesday faced a tough time before the land probe as he laboured to explain how he acquired a 366-acre piece of land at Temangalo in Wakiso District, which he later sold to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Nzeyi was on Wednesday appearing before the Commission of Inquiry Into Land Matters to defend allegations that he fraudulently acquired the land on Plot 20 in Busiro in 1993 while it was registered in the names of M/s Temangalo Tea Estate, a company owned by the family of Muhammad Hassanali Moosa before they were expelled by the Iddi Amin regime.
Asked how he acquired the land yet it already had a running lease granted to Temangalo Tea Estate, the businessman claimed that he was not aware of the lease since the land was sold to him by the former managing director of Uganda Development Bank, Abbas Mawanda.
Nzeyi said Mawanda’s former lawyers of Sebalu and Lule Company advocates carried out due diligence on the land before he bought it.
“All I was interested in was to buy that beautiful land, pay for it, handover transfers to the lawyers who were the professionals. In this matter, I am an innocent man because surely the only way we know we investors about buying land is engaging and hiring lawyers to carry out due diligence. After findings, that is when you go to the bank and say ‘release the money’ and that is what exactly translated in this transaction,” Mr Nzeyi said.
While appearing before the land probe last week, Mr Nazim Moosa, who is based in Vancouver, Canada presented an original lease title, saying that his parents acquired the tea estate from the late Daniel Mugwanya Kato but lost track when they were expelled in 1972.
He revealed that in 1993 when returned to the land, they were shocked to find Nzeyi had occupied it even when the records in the land office indicated that it was still in the family names of Temangalo Tea Estate.
Mr Moosa, who is a retired banker, claimed that when they went to court in 1993 and invited Nzeyi, he refused to turn up.
However, the businessman told the land probe yesterday that he was unaware of the 1993 case and sold the land in 2008 to NSSF without knowledge of any dispute.
He said he is only aware of the 2016 case where mediation proceedings failed because he never attended.
However, he did not satisfactorily explain how he went ahead to acquire of the disputed land when he found tea gardens on it.
Sitting at the National Records and Archives Centre in Kampala, the Commission is inquiring into the law, processes and procedures in land acquisition, land administration, and management in the country.
Last week, the Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mr Richard Byarugaba, denied knowledge of the claimants of the Temangalo land which NSSF purchased from businessman Nzeyi and his partner, former premier Amama Mbabazi.
Appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters on Thursday, August 2, Mr Byarugaba said before NSSF acquired the 463.87 acres of the Temangalo land at Shs11b in 2008, they had done due diligence with the help of a reputable law firm, JB Byamugisha and Company Advocates.