KAMPALA – The Court of Appeal has ordered Businessman Ben Kavuya to return two properties that he fraudulently acquired.
The properties include plots of land in Bweyogerere and Kataza Kiswa belonging to the former Kampala Capital City accountant George David Wakanyira.
In 2007, Wakanyira sued Kavuya, his company Global Capital Save 2004 Ltd and Rutungo Properties Ltd for illegally taking his property.
Wakanyira says that in 2007, he obtained a loan of 170 Million Shillings from Kavuya and deposited two of his properties as collateral. The money was to be paid back in six months at a 10 percent interest rate.
He adds that Kavuya asked him to sign the sale and loan agreements together with a power of attorney and transfer forms for both properties.
The sale agreement according to the court indicated that Shillings 272 million as a consideration but Wakanyira said he never received the money.
In August 2010, High Court Judge Geoffrey Kiryabwire ruled that the transaction was a sale and that, there was no evidence of fraudulent sale. Wakanyiira immediately appealed the ruling.
His lawyer, Stephen Kinyanga says the value of the properties stated in the transfer forms showed that there were no developments yet the properties were fully developed.
One of the defence witnesses Micheal Nywana told the court that he filled in the transfer forms at a value of Shillings 10 million for each property without looking at the sale agreement. Nywana told the court that Wakanyira was forced to sign blank transfer forms and that he had fraudulently testified before the court that he witnessed Wakanyira sign the forms which were not true.
Kiyanga argued that the transactions were marred with fraud, and not based on any sale agreement.
Wakanyiira asked the court to declare that the transaction was a loan agreement and not a sale agreement.
Three justices of the Court of Cheborion Barishaki, Richard Buteera and Hellen Obura ruled that although there was a sale agreement, Wakanyira never intended to enter into a legal contract of sale of his properties and that it was illegal and fraudulent for Kavuya and his company to say that the transaction was a sale.
Court awarded Shillings 71 Million Shillings in special damages for properties he left behind upon eviction and Shillings 50 million in general damages.
The justices also awarded interest of 20 percent annually on special damages from the date of filing the case until payment in full and a 6 percent annual interest rate on general damages from the date of judgement until payment in full.
Wakanyira was also ordered to clear his loan. However, he should pay an interest of 20 percent annually. The court ruled that although the loan had to be paid back within 6 months at an interest rate of 10 percent, Wakanyira cannot pay at the interest rate because he had started paying the loan when he realized that his properties had been transferred into the names of Rutungu Properties Ltd.
His case was one of those that were brought before the Bamugemereire land commission where he petitioned the commission over his property.
In June, High Court in Masaka ordered the cancellation of a title of Kavuya that he had obtained over 714.3 hectares in Kabula County, Sembabule District.