By Our Reporter
The Court of Appeal in Kampala has today, 14th December, 2023 stopped the sale of prime Muslim property in the city.
This decision comes after the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council’s successful application against businessman Justus Kyabahwa, who sought to auction their properties over a disputed 19.2 billion shillings debt that accrued from a fraudulent land transaction.
Presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, and Irene Mulyagonja, the court reserved the detailed reasons for overturning Justice Christopher Gashirabake’s decision for a later date.
The High Court had earlier given Kyabahwa a go-ahead to auction Muslim properties that included Gaddafi National Mosque atop Old Kampala hill.
This parcel of land encompasses significant structures, including the National Muslim Mosque and the Muslim community headquarters, along with other properties situated on Old Kampala Hill.
This crisis stems from a land transaction between UMSC and Justus Kyabahwa, which encountered complications. UMSC sold a two-square-mile tract of land to Kyabahwa for Shs 3.584 billion, intending to transfer ownership within 150 days. However, the land had an existing 15-year lease, leading to the failure to fulfill the transfer or refund the money, resulting in the accumulation of a Shs 19 billion debt.
The clause of paying interest, regarded as contradictory to Islamic teachings, was allegedly introduced by the former secretary general, Hajji Ramathan Mugalu, as per UMSC officials. Mugalu, however, disavowed any responsibility, asserting his actions were in line with UMSC directives.
In a bid to recover his funds, Kyabahwa pursued legal action, ultimately leading to UMSC’s defeat in court and the directive to settle the Shs 19-billion debt within 30 days.