KAMPALA – Legislators on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) have on August 22, quizzed City businessman Amos Nzeyi to explain circumstances under which he sold 366 acres of Temangalo land yet the land had a pending lease whose period had not elapsed.
Nzeyi is said to have taken possession of the land in 1993 after buying it from Abbas Mawanda, former Uganda Development Bank Managing Director and later sold it to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) at UGX11bn in 2008 a transaction that has bogged the nation to date.
The businessman said that at the time of purchasing the land, his lawyers, Sebalu & Lule Advocates assured him how they had conducted a search and assured him that the land was free of encumbrances, a report he relied on to take the business decision.
Nzeyi said, “Mawanda sold to me after protracted negotiations on the price, size, survey and subdivision of the land. This process which took place about 2years and the title was handed over to me in 1991.During that period, I paid Mawanda by cheques totaling to UGX7.4million pending conclusion of a sale agreement.”
Nzeyi further submitted that whereas he had initially agreed to buy 174acres of the land at UGX43m, on October 2, 1991, Mawanda changed his mind through an addendum and reduced the acreage to 116acres and retained the 60acres.
The businessman said, “Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) correspondence and the title all indicate that re-entry was effected by Mawanda on 15th October 1988, long before I purchased this land. I therefore acquired the land free of lease encumbrances, as the same was terminated prior. I owned the mailo interest in perpetuity and transferred it to NSSF.”
However, Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East) wondered how ownership of the contested land exchanged hands from Mawanda to Nzeyi and eventually to NSSF yet there were other rightful owners of the land whose lease hadn’t expired and had submitted in request to extend their lease.
Nzeyi defended his decision arguing that he followed the right procedures and conducted due diligence in the purchase and eventual sale of Temangalo land and informed the Committee that he was contacted to buy the Temangalo land while he was relaxing at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala and that he did not buy the entire land as alleged and that he did not know about any lease whose expiry hadn’t reached.
He said he was compelled to sell the land to NSSF because he needed money to recapitalize the defunct National Bank of Commerce and agreed to sell each land at Shs28m per acre.
Nzeei’s appearance at the Committee followed an earlier meeting in which Canadian based Nazim Moosa and his family of Asian origin appeared before the Committee presenting evidence of a 79 lease land title with pleas to Parliament to help them reclaim their land or at least get compensation for the damage and land they claim to rightly possess.
Moosa accused former Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, Businessman Amos Nzeeyi, NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba, Lands registrar Sarah Kulata of being behind the controversial giveaway and sell of 366 acres of Temangalo land.
Moosa told the Committee that his family obtained the land in 1924 before being expelled by President Idi Amin in 1972 and they were shocked to learn of Nzeeyi’s claims to the land saying the contested land was illegally transferred to the names of Nzeeyi under unclear circumstances and there is need for Parliament to probe how Nzeeyi got his hands on the land to allow the rightful family members reposes their land.
Moosa told the committee that the although the lease held by the Indians had not expired, unknown individuals cancelled it and transferred it to other names without giving the Moosa the chance to renew the lease even after they were issued repossession certificate upon claiming ownership.
Nzeyi denied knowledge about the said land and also denied forging a land title saying that he was using the same title to picks loans from several banks without any hindrances.