By our reporter
Temangalo land saga was a poster child for greed and abuse of office back in 2008.
The land saga exposed former prime minister Amama Amama and his business associate Amos Nzeyi as greedy individuals who used their influence to force a sale of land in Temangalo at a whooping sh11 billion. Valuers said the land was far below the deal NSSF offered the duo.
Whereas one can say the saga destroyed Amama Mbabazi’s Mr Clean image, it also left the national social security fund badly bruised.
Unfortunately the ghosts of Temangalo have refused to rest, and Amama and his business associate Amos Nzeyi could be forced to refund the money to the bonafide owners,or, NSSF could lose the land all together.
A family saying they owned the land has emerged and have presented overwhelming evidence before the Land probe committee headed by Justice Bamugemereire Catherine.
The wrangling is over the ownership of the 366 acre land stretch, now in the hands of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) at Temangalo in Wakiso District.
A Canadian based family is accusing businessman Amos Nzeyi of grabbing their land, without their consent or due compensation.
Nzeyi, a businessman associated with Pepsi Cola, is said to have fraudulently acquired and occupied the disputed land on Block 296 Plot 20 in Busiro in 1993. The land was then registered in the names of M/s Temangalo Tea Estate, a company owned by the family of Muhammad Hassanali Moosa before the 1972 Asian expulsion the late president Idi Amin Dada. They owned the land since 1944.
When President Museveni took power, he encouraged Asians to return to their properties or sale them to whoever they wanted.
However, some properties were forcefully occupied by some scrupulous people without going through the rightful channels such as the Asians Custodian board, or, buying from the bonafide owners.The Justice Catherine Bamugemereire –led Commission of Inquiry into land matters received evidenceon Wednesdayshowing that Amos Nzeyi disposed off the land to NSSF in 2009 amidst disputes over ownership.
Nazim Moosa, a retired banker based in Vancouver, Canadaon Wednesdaytestified before the land probe, and presented an original lease title saying that his parents acquired the tea estate from Daniel Mugwanya Kato and that they owned the property until they were part of the group expelled in 1972.
On behalf of his two siblings, Mr Moosa, pleaded, “…My parents have proprietary interests because I have the original lease title for the tea estate since 1944. But our search through our former lawyer Peter Mulira in 1993 shows that Mr Nzeyi was occupying our land. We wrote to him but he did not show up.”
Moosa says they visited the land in 1993 and were surprised to find part of it with some structures, a dairy farm and a watershed.
When they contacted the family of Mugwanya that leased the land to their parents, they denied knowledge of whoever had put developments on the land.
“We do not know what transpired in the background but our lawyer (Mulira) revealed to us that he did not find Mr Nzeyi’s title in the land registry,” Moosa told the probe committee.
And again, the family found incurbarance in finding legal redress as courts of law frustrated their filed two cases in 1993 and 2016.
“We have been seeking redress from other avenues because it has been frustrating without any action. We wrote to Speaker of Parliament, State House and Attorney General but to our surprise we learnt from press reports that NSSF had purchased it.”
According to Moosa, the searches on the land at the Wakiso District land office still show the land in question was still registered in the names of Temangalo Tea Estate.
The family of Mugwanya which leased land to the Asians feared the powerful people occupying the land and shied away from the dispute.
Moosa said, “We have been in touch with the Mugwanya family and they are aggrieved but in fear of what might happen.”
He added: “This is the first time to have a sort of public hearing since 1993 but I heard that lawyer abandoned the case and lost position of our case.”