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Kasaija To Solicitor General: I’ve Powers To Cancel Certificate Of Repossession On Departed Asians Properties

By Nathan Ngobi

Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, has said he has powers to cancel a certificate of repossession on the departed Asian properties, trashing Solicitor General earlier remark that the Buyanga County Member of Parliament does not have any powers over departed Asians properties.

But responding to the SG in an interview with the Second Opinion, Kasaija says that: “I have the powers to cancel a certificate of repossession on the departed Asian properties but there was one judge who fraudulently ruled to scrap off my powers which was wrong but I still have powers todate as a minister of Finance where the DAPCB falls under my docket.”

Earlier, the SG claimed that Kasaija, has not even powers as minister to oversee departed Asians properties.  

The solicitor General was clarifying on Board’s move to repossess a property on plot 14C, FRV 78 folio 19 Martin Road,  old Kampala.

In February, 2021, DAPCB wrote to Martin Road area LC1 Chairperson informing him that they are in a process of verifying and winding up all its activities on expropriated properties of which the property plot 14C FRV78 currently occupied by  directors of Shama Imports and Exports (U)Ltd Kampala  was among them.  .

According to the DAPCB letter, the occupants are illegally occupying this property without any color of authority to which they are required to pay rent arrears since 1972 to date. Thereafter, they should provide vacant possession to enable the

“The purpose of this letter is to request the occupants to provide vacant possession of plot 14C Martin Road, Kampala not later than 60 days from the receipt of this letter,”Hirome  Sabehe  Mayanja wrote.

 According to inside sources, the said departed Asian property plot 14C FRV78 Martin road was formerly owned by Abdul Malik  Kermali Hirji  but the owners failed to return physically within 120 days as required by the law.

Last year’s parliamentary investigations into the affairs of the custodian board  found out that the current registered proprietor obtained the property illegally and declared that it belongs to the Government of Uganda and Parliament ordered it to be recovered from the illegal occupants.

Meanwhile, following the above background and parliamentary recommendations, Hirome Sabehe Mayanja on behalf of DAPCB wrote the letter through the area LC! Chairman Martin road notifying the illegal occupants to pay and vacate the property for Government to repossess it.

It is alleged that the illegal occupants rushed to the Solicitor General’s office seeking protection on the matter.

However, the Solicitor General later informed DAPCB that the Minister responsible for Finance has no authority to cancel a certificate of repossession previously he/she issued and that the power is reserved for the High Court of Uganda under the section 15 of the expropriated properties act cap 87.

“Reference is made to your letter no CB2672 dated 26 February 2021 addressed to the LC1 Chairperson Martin Road on the captioned subject, which was brought to the attention of the Hon. Attorney General on 16 April 2021 in his capacity as principal legal advisor of the government by M/s Sharma Import and Export (U) Ltd, the registered owners of the property to vacate it to enable the Minister for finance deal in the property,” JBR Suuza wrote on behalf of the Solicitor General in a letter dated 15 June 2021.

Speaking to The Second Opinion, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija insisted that he still have powers to cancel the certificate of repossession of the Departed Asian properties since the Custodians board (DAPCB) falls under his docket.

“….One judge whom I do not want to mention here made such ruling against me and the ministry but I can assure you I still have my powers on the departed Asian properties to cancel certificates of repossession” said Kasaija.

But Ssuza added that from the available records, the property in question having been repossessed by its pre-1972 owners on the authority of a certificate issued by the Minister has changed hands five times since 1994. Its inconceivable that the board in 2021 can claim or purport to have authority over the property.

 Early this year, Parliament investigated and gave recommendations about their findings about   the management of the properties of the Asians who were expelled from Uganda in 1972 by the late President Idi Amin.

In a report presented by the former Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), Ibrahim Kasozi, it was discovered that there were irregularities in management, compensation and repossession of properties owned by the departed Asians.

The Asians, after their expulsion left behind property, which included businesses, stock and real estate. Some of the properties were repossessed yet their owners had been fully compensated by the government of Uganda.

”The perpetrators should be prosecuted and repossessions whose former owners did not physically return to manage the properties as required by law should be cancelled,” Kasozi revealed.

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