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Land Row: Court Orders ULC to Pay PS Bigirimana Shs 345m

There could finally be an end in sight for the long standing case between permanent secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana (Vendor) and Uganda Land Commission, ULC (purchaser).

This follows a high court ruling on Monday in which Justice Michael Elumbu put the probe to bed.

Bigirimana had sued the Uganda Land Commission over a debt arising from land purchase in that transpired in 2015.

He argued that on July, 22nd 2015 he sold his land comprised in block 103 plot 5 situated in Bulemezi, Nakabioto and Nakigozi Luwero District to ULC for a consideration of Shs 504 million.

In his petition to the high court, Bigirimana argued that only a partial payment of Shs 159 million has been made in installment, terms that were not previously agreed upon in the purchase.

“The vendor has been left unpaid despite full transfer of the land to the purchaser, for a period of more than two and a half years. From the evidence before this court, no reason has been furnished for this delay,” the statement reads.

In passing the judgement, High Court Justice Elumbu considered the following discrepancies

  • Whether the accounting officer has latitude to selectively pay the claimant in installments and at intervals of his choosing
  • Whether the sale proceeds due to the vendor ought to be recovered from the purchaser forthwith or within timelines set by the court
  • Whether the overdue proceedings ought to be recovered with interest to the vendor until full payment is made.
  • Whether the vendor merits costs attendant to the proceedings
  • Whether a consequential order doth issue to the vendor to attach the accounts of the purchaser for the recovery of the overdue sale proceeds, interests thereon and costs of the suit.

Notably though, the court has gone ahead to deliberate on the matter despite the lack of reply to the allegations from the accused.

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“After preliminary hearing of this matter, the purchaser was summoned to put in a reply, and the record shows that several adjournments were granted to enable him appear. There being no reply, or representation from the purchaser, despite effective service of him, the court directed the matter to be heard exparte,” part of the ruling reads.

On the pertinent issue of installments, Elumbu notes that it is impossible to rule on it since the terms and conditions of the payment were not clearly defined in the agreement.

The court however dismisses the lackluster mode of payment and expects full payment of the balance Shs 345m to be made by the end of this financial year (30th June, 2020).

The court further rules that vendor is entitled to a certain portion of interest since the land payments are not yet competed rendering the land in question not fully sold off. A rate that will be decided by court once deemed reasonable.

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