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Court permits businessman Kyabahwa to sell off Gadaffi Mosque to recover Shs 19bn

Gadaffi Mosque at Old Kampala. Photo by Run Tours and Travel

Gadaffi Mosque at Old Kampala. Photo by Run Tours and Travel

The Court of Appeal has sanctioned businessman Justus Kyabahwa to proceed with the sale of properties belonging to the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) so as to recover Shs 18.9 billion. 

Justice Christopher Gashirabake on Wednesday dismissed with costs an application in which UMSC wanted a stay of execution of warrant in which Kyabahwa was permitted to attach nine properties and recover his money which has been accumulating since 2020.

"Clearly, the balance of convenience would be in not granting this application for stay of execution but to allow the party with the judgment in hand to proceed with the execution process," ruled Gashirabake.

It all started on June 24, 2020, when UMSC sold its Sembabule ranch land measuring 517 hectares to Kyabahwa through Arthur Kayanja. According to the sale agreement, the land was sold at Shs 3.584 billion. The agreement states that UMSC; which was represented by its secretary general Ramathan Mugalu, Mufti Shaban Ramatha Mubajje, and chairman Abdulkadir Idi Balonde, was to hand over the possession of the land not later than 60 days after the sale agreement was signed.

UMSC also agreed to pay any arrears in respect of rates, levies, and charges, incurred in respect of the land before the agreement was signed. According to the agreement, if the buyer failed to get possession of the land within 150 days from the date of the execution of the agreement for any reason not being his default, UMSC had to refund all the money that had been paid to it together with interest of 12% per month.

The agreement also stated that UMSC was in a period of 60 days, supposed to remove the caveat filed on the title to the land by Enterprise Handling Services Limited (ENHAS), the company that had a 15-year lease that was running up to 2028. The agreement also states that before the transaction kicks off, it had been authorized by all the relevant organs of UMSC.

The agreement further states that all disputes arising out of the transaction shall be resolved through court but after exhausting arbitration in accordance with arbitration and conciliation. As a result, Kyabahwa after failing to get his money in three months after finding that the land was already sold to ENHAS, petitioned the Commercial court seeking to recover Shs 18.9 billion which had now accumulated in about four years. 

Consequently, his petition was allowed on August 7, 2023, and the defense of UMSC was rejected after evaluation of the evidence on the court record including the agreement by both parties. On November 16, the registrar issued a warrant of execution allowing Kyabahwa to sell nine properties including Gadaffi Mosque in Old Kampala to recover his money. 

But dissatisfied with the decision, UMSC appealed in the Court of Appeal and also applied for a stay of execution. Their deputy secretary general in charge of finance and administration, Muhammad Ali Aluma, argued that Kyabahwa sued them in the High court but they asked for unconditional leave to appear and defend the suit.

However, they were unsuccessful as the High court on August 7 dismissed their application, and judgment was entered in favour of Kyabahwa. UMSC said, they had filed an appeal and asked for a stay of execution for the attachment and sale of its various properties. 

UMSC argued that it will suffer irreparable loss once execution is allowed to proceed because its property shall be sold. They said the right of appeal will be crippled, rendered nugatory, and academic if the application is not granted. However, Kyabahwa through his lawyer Ahmed Kalule Mukasa opposed the application, saying that they will not suffer any harm and they have not demonstrated how they shall suffer harm which can't be atoned by an award of damages.

He said the execution against the properties proposed has no bearing on the existence of the Islamic faith and the claims in respect thereof by the UMSC are preposterous. Kalule asked the court to dismiss the application for a stay of execution by the UMSC. Gashirabake ruled that UMSC had not brought sufficient evidence that it will suffer harm that cannot be atoned by an award of damages. 

"Indeed all the applicant has done is to urge the court that if execution proceeds, it may never be able to recover its properties from third parties. In my view, recovery of a property sold in execution of a severe and atonement of damage that may arise thereby, are two different things," said Gashirabake. 

He added that it is possible that the debtor whose property is sold in execution of a decree may never be able to recover the same, yet any damage that may be suffered and therefore it can be atoned by an award of damages. As such, he said the fear of loss of property as a consequence of execution does not mean that UMSC shall suffer harm that cannot be adequately compensated in damages.

"Furthermore, I accept the respondent/Kyabahwa that where the judgment creditor's quest in execution is the enforcement of a purely monetary claim, a sum of money adjudged as owing to the respondent or judgment creditor, there is no special quality attached to such a claim," said Gashirabake.

Comments

0 #1 wadada rogers 2023-11-30 22:53
I suspect this is some kind of Amarula family comedy, so at what point is Museveni going to come or stage to rescue the mosque for the benefit of Islam or is he going to advise Muslims all over the country to contribute 20,000 each to pay of Justus who is obviously a proxy of somebody in government
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+2 #2 Lakwena 2023-12-01 07:25
Unless of course it is one of regime concealed mega corruption and at the risk of committing abomination and attract Fatwa; who in his/her moral and right state of mind will buy these Islamic and religious properties?

In other words, it is in absolute selfishness that the lack of concern for others and causing harm lie. So that eventually, some people murder, rubbish God, desecrate places of worship and sell Holy Grounds.

Good luck buyers.
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0 #3 wadada rogers 2023-12-01 08:38
But do these guys know what it means to sell a place of worship, besides who is going to buy, of what use would it be to him or her unless the intention is to buy it for the Muslim community.

what is shocking is that there is massive construction taking place at the infamous Gadaffi mosque. I still believe a "miracle will happen so that the Mosque is not sold or a superior court is about to pounce and maintain a status quo
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+1 #4 Joe B 2023-12-01 15:58
Quoting wadada rogers:
But do these guys know what it means to sell a place of worship, besides who is going to buy, of what use would it be to him or her unless the intention is to buy it for the Muslim community.

what is shocking is that there is massive construction taking place at the infamous Gadaffi mosque. I still believe a "miracle will happen so that the Mosque is not sold or a superior court is about to pounce and maintain a status quo
Quoting wadada rogers:
I suspect this is some kind of Amarula family comedy, so at what point is Museveni going to come or stage to rescue the mosque for the benefit of Islam or is he going to advise Muslims all over the country to contribute 20,000 each to pay of Justus who is obviously a proxy of somebody in government


Before we blame the man attaching the property, lets blame the men of Allah for engaging in dubious deals!
Borrowing means paying.
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0 #5 kabayekka 2023-12-03 19:23
Unfortunately for the Islamic fraternity in this country, this will become a lesson to them that putting up religious shrines anywhere and everywhere does not justify those lands or places to be sacred(Holy).

Even Jesus when he entered the marvellous and holy temple in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago, he found it turned into a market place.

He had to use force to educate human spiritualism! These Ganda lands with Muslim properties are owned and leased out by the Native Ganda people who must have the last say in all this present and atrocious business of any how grabbing indigenous African lands.
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0 #6 kabayekka 2023-12-04 03:45
Those are bygone days when strangers used to walk into many countries especially on the continent of Africa, and started demanding from the native peoples this and that and afterwards decide to take over all lands from their abode.

These present debts owed to Mr Justus Kyabahwa, a loan shark by the few moslem clique are private debts. That is why we are telling the IMF, China and the World Bank that they lend the country of Uganda private debts at their own peril.

They must not expect all the people of Uganda to pay such misused debts!
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