Buganda Prince’s widow accuses lawyer of land grabbing

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Gavel

The widow is seeking the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni, Anti-Corruption State House Unit boss, Lt Col Edith Nakalema and lands minister, Beti Kamya.

Mary Ssimbwa, 80, a resident of Kabowa, a Kampala suburb, says her late husband’s former lawyer, Mukhembo, fraudulently acquired the land following the death of Ssimbwa in November 2014.

COURT|LAND GRABBING|FRAUD

The widow of Prince David Alexander Ssimbwa and the descendants of Sir Daudi Chwa II, have accused city lawyer Philip Mukhembo of allegedly grabbing their 350-acre piece of land at Nantabulirwa in Mukono district.

Mary Ssimbwa, 80, a resident of Kabowa, a Kampala suburb, says her late husband’s former lawyer, Mukhembo, fraudulently acquired the land following the death of Ssimbwa in November 2014.

The deceased was the younger brother of Sir Edward Mutesa II and one of the children of Ssekabaka Daudi Chwa II. The land is located a few metres from the Ridar Hotel in Seeta.

“Ssimbwa instructed Mukhembo of Wameli and Company Advocates to get the titles of his father’s land. He was to get 10% in legal fees. But he instead took the entire land and sold some to other businessmen,” she said.

In an agreement, dated November 17, 2011, seen by the New Vision, Prince Ssimbwa instructed Wameli and Company Advocates to obtain letters of administration in respect of the estate of the late Chwa II. The prince also instructed the law firm to invoke all legal means applicable in the identification and recovery of property belonging to Chwa II.

Mukhembo, trading as Luwangula Estates, is alleged to have sold part of the land to different business persons, including an Ethiopian who has a mailo title, yet according to the law foreigners are not supposed to hold such titles.

The widow is seeking the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni, AntiCorruption State House Unit boss Lt Col Edith Nakalema and lands minister Beti Kamya.

Court battle 

On May 10, 2018, the Family Division of the High Court directed the Commissioner Land Registration and/or Principal Registrar, Mukono Land Registry to process and issue titles for the disputed land, which has never been done.

Court documents indicate that in 2015, Wameli and Company Advocates asked former Family Court judge Percy Tuhaise to order the Registrar of Titles in Mukono to issue a certificate of title for the land in the names of Sir Daudi Chwa II (deceased) and, then, in the names of the administrator of the estates.

The law firm also requested that a certificate of title be issued in the names of Chwa II and Mukhembo. They wanted the Mukono district staff surveyor to reinstate the old boundaries of the plots as per the certified cadastral sheets by the Commissioner Survey and Mapping.

The law firm had filed the case against the administrators of the estate of Chwa II, Attorney General, Commissioner Land Registration and Commissioner Survey and Mapping.

When the case came up for hearing, counsels David Kaggwa and Elisha Bafirawala, for the respondents, objected to the law firm’s pleas.

Kaggwa pointed out that following the court judgment, the taxation was resolved by consent where the applicant was to be paid 10% of Prince Ssimbwa’s share.

In response, Counsel Senkeezi Ssali submitted that the orders of court were not only declaratory but were also directives. He stated that court had directed the estate to be distributed within a year.

Lawyer speaks out

Renowned lawyer, Anthony Wameli, said Mukhembo offered legal services to Prince Ssimbwa, who dismissed him without pay. He added that Mukhembo went to court and won a case in which he was supposed to get 10% of Ssimbwa’s estate.

“Those allegations are baseless and far-fetched and we also have land in that area,” Wameli said.

**New Vision