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Court dismisses Juma sect property case against UMSC

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Court has dismissed with costs a petition filed by the Registered Trustees of Africa Muslim Community (Juma Sect) in which they sued Uganda Muslim Supreme Council claiming ownership of the land where Nateete town mosque is constructed.

On Friday, Justice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema of the Land Division dismissed the suit on grounds that the Juma Sect Community through their lawyer Hakim Lubega failed to bring to court any document to prove ownership of the contentious land.

“The plaintiff, in this case, has failed to show that as a person deprived of the suit land as allocatee or who possessed land was dispossessed by the first defendant (UMSC) or all the defendants. In the absence of what established the plaintiffs’ claim of right as allocattee of the suit land, I find that the plaintiffs’ plaint discloses no cause of action against all the defendants”, said the Judge.

The Judge also agreed with the respondents’ lawyer Musa Kabega that the petition was filed in a manner that abuses the Limitation Act which provides for the time limit within which to file complaints arising from land matters.

Justice Byaruhanga explained that the Limitation Act limits actions in the recovery of land to commence within 12 years from the time one thinks he has been deprived of their property.

However in this matter, the court heard that the case was filed in 2003 which was more than 15 years after the Juma Sect is said to have been aggrieved by the actions of UMSC which reportedly took the land in 1988. He dismissed the case with costs.

In 2003, Trustees of Africa Muslim Community petitioned the court seeking to recover the land occupied by Nateete Mosque.

They accused UMSC together with Prime Women Investments Limited, Uganda Land Commission, Nateete Twale Muslim Community Limited and the Registrar of Titles of fraudulently taking over their land comprising plots 12 and 13 on Masaka road that hosts Nateete town mosque.

The applicants told the court that the contested land is currently registered in the names of Nateete Twale Muslim Community Limited and UMSC, yet they acquired it from the colonial government in the 1940’s. The applicants further noted that they didn’t process a title for the land due to the endless disputes in the Muslim Community.

According to the evidence before the court, UMSC acquired a 47-year lease and title for the suit land from Uganda Land Commission on February 3, 1988.

However, the applicants stated that they lodged a caveat on the land in March 1988 but it was subsequently removed by the late Abdnoor Luyomba.

They also accused UMSC of subdividing the suit land into multiple plots, which paved way for Nateete Twale Muslim Community to enter a joint venture with Prime Women Investments Limited for redevelopment.

They asked the court to direct the Registrar of Titles to register Juma Sect community as the rightful owner of the land in question and issue a permanent injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from entering or interfering in any way with their peaceful enjoyment of the suit land.

Two weeks ago, Lubega was given seven days to file all the necessary documentation in this matter but after failing to meet the deadline, the court couldn’t grant him extra time on grounds that the case had taken over 17 years and it needed to be determined quickly.

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