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Museveni Asks Chief Justice To Review Decision Allowing Sale Of Muslim Properties

President Yoweri Museveni has asked Chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi-Dollo to personally review a decision by the High Court and Court of Appeal allowing the actioning of properties belonging to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

In a letter dated December 7, written to Owinyi-Dollo, Museveni said he was taken aback by the decision of the court to allow for the sale of Muslim properties including the National Mosque because of a mistake committed by individuals. “I was most surprised to read in Mufti Mubajje’s letter that among the Moslem properties to be affected is the National Mosque at Old Kampala!! Really!! What sane person, let alone a Judge can make such orders? How can a Mosque or Church be attached for debts carelessly entered into by officials of that faith? If there is no law protecting Institutions of Worship, then common sense is there. I, therefore, request you to review this matter yourself and see how to restore sanity.

His Eminence Mubaje alleges other examples of misconduct and collusion. You should study all those. What, however, provoked me was the audacity of attaching the National Mosque. The NRM freedom fighters and the government they head, cannot be associated with sick logic,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.

The President’s letter followed a petition by the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Shaban Ramathan Mubaje dated November 29 to the President complaining about how the matter was handled by the judiciary. “I had been hearing about those wrangles but I had not focused my attention to them because I knew there are capable National Institutions responsible for those issues, especially the Judiciary you head,” Museveni’s letter reads in part.

Mubajje had also publicly assailed the judiciary of being corrupt after it allowed Justus Kyabahwa to recover 19 billion Shillings owed to him by UMSC.

On June 24, 2020, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council acting through its former Secretary General Ramathan Mugalu, Mufti Shaban Ramathan Mubajje, and former chairperson Abdulkadir Idi Balonde who has since died, sold two square miles of land located in Ssembabule district to businessman Justus Kyabahwa at 3.584billion Shillings.

In the agreement that was signed, they agreed to transfer the ownership of the land to the businessman within 150 days failure of which they would refund the money at 12 percent interest per month. However, the land already had a 15-year lease with Enterprise Holding Services ending in 2028. Therefore, UMSC was not only unable to transfer the land but also to refund the money leading to its accumulation to the current 19 billion Shillings.

In August, the High Court gave a no-objection order to the attachment of several UMSC properties to enable Kyabahwa to recover his money.

Among the property attached include; land at William Street Kampala, land at Old Kampala plot 23 to 25 comprising the National Mosque, land at Kyanja, one square mile of Land at Bukwe, Hoima, one acre of land located at Lubas Road Jinja, Plot of land at Mbale City, Shares in Uganda Ranches Limited and Commercial Holding Ltd, two square miles of land at Migyera in Buluri and plot of land in Entebbe opposite Victoria Mall.

On Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Kampala temporarily stopped businessman Justus Kyabahwa from auctioning prime Uganda Muslim Supreme Council property.

The panel of three justices including Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, and Irene Mulyagonja, delivered the verdict in response to UMSC’s application for a stay of execution pending an appeal. In their verdict, the justices noted that the attachment orders were marred by irregularity and malice.


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