The proprietors of Africa House building, situated on plot 42 FVR 60 Folio 5- Kampala Road have come out to reaffirm that they are the rightful owners of the prime property.
The property in contention is being claimed by Owek. Israel Mayengo, the former Minister without Portfolio of Buganda Kingdom who also serves as the director of MKM Corporation.
Owek. Mayengo claims that the property was allocated to him by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda in a directive issued on 9th August 2023.
“I have received a letter from Mzee Israel Mayengo, a member of National Consultative Council (NCC: 1979- 80) and part of the Resistance Wars, reminding me of my instructions five years ago for you to allocate to him Plot 42 Kampala Road. That property is a Custodian Board one that the Government had paid for. If there are no other legal impediments, allocate it to him,” reads a directive from the President to the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija.
However, according to Firdoshali Madatali Keshwani Habib and Dolathanu Madatali Habib, the property was seized in 1972 when then President of Uganda Idi Amin expelled Asians from Uganda.
“When the current government came into power, the Custodian Board took over the property but they never registered the title of the Africa House. We came back to Uganda in 1990 and were ordered to follow the procedure of reclaiming our property from the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board,” Firdoshali said.
Due to the delayed process, the owners were forced to run to the Courts of Law in 1991 to seek justice. The Court ruled in their favour and the Custodian Board was ordered to return the property to the rightful owners.
In 1992, the then Executive Secretary of the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board, Mr. Alex Joseph Apecu issued a statement to the occupants of Africa House, confirming that the property had been returned to the registered proprietor- Firdoshali Madatali Keshwani Habib and Dolathanu Madatali Habib.
“Consequently, the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board is no longer your Landlord, and you are advised to negotiate a new tenancy arrangement with the registered proprietor,” Mr. Apecu said.
The owners further note that they have never received any communication from the Finance Ministry regarding the Presidential Directive and that they have been paying all taxes of the building to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
” In 2020-2021 we were recognised by the Uganda Revenue Authority (KCCA) as some of the best taxpayers that year. Even when Parliament was investigating the property under Custodian Board ours was never investigated because it is a private property,” they said.
In 2021, Owek. Mayengo under his company MKM Corporation ran to court over the issue but on 3 March, 2023, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the High Court dismissed the case with no costs.