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Lawyer Nowamani Mark survives alleged intimidation arrest; living in fear for his life

With reports of illegal land evictions by Busoga Kingdom officials becoming rampant, there seems to be no headway in resolving the volatile situation.

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Jinja-born and now Kampala-based lawyer Nowamani Mark survived arrest over the weekend. The arrest, it is alleged, was supposed to drive him off a case in which he was a witness to a land lease transaction.

While spending time at Source Garden Hotel, on the route to the Source of The Nile, Nowamani Mark was tipped of his arrest, one to whose reason he didn’t know of but had suspicions.

“My client bought a 3.537-hectare piece of land in Bugembe on a lease arrangement in 2016 and I was witness to the transaction. In 2017, they (client) went ahead and secured a mortgage from FINCA Uganda Limited on that same land. In 2018, it turns out Busoga Kingdom or its officials donated that very piece of land to Arab investors from Unite Arab Emirates (UAE),” said Nowamani Mark in a chat with our writer. “My client did not sell the land to anyone but FINCA Uganda is now forced to think we made a double transaction on the same piece of land, which in turn makes us dubious,” he added.

Skizar was able to look at the documents pertaining to the said land.

In July 2018, The Kampala Post reported that investors from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, who want to establish an Institute of Higher Learning in Uganda, had made a courtesy call on the First Lady, Janet Museveni at State House.

The delegation which was led by the Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Sultan Al Owais was accompanied by H.E the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Uganda Abdullah Al Takawi, the Busoga Kingdom Premier Dr. Joseph Muvawala and Members of Parliament from Busoga who included Jinja Municipality West’s Moses Grace Balyeku, Butembe County’s Nelson Lufafa and Mariam Naigaga the Woman Representative of Namutumba District. The Busoga team also had the Jinja District Chairman, Titus Kisambira.

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Busoga Kingdom Premier Dr. Joseph Muvawala (Middle in Suit) with Busoga MPS Mariam Naigaga (Gomesi), Balyeku Moses Grace (3rd from Left) and Nelson Lufafa (Extreme Right) with the Arab Investor. (Photo Credit: www.proudmusoga.co.ug)

In the State House meeting, The Kampala Post reported that Balyeku Moses Grace informed the First Lady that the UAE delegation had met with His Royal Highness the Kyabazinga of Busoga and the Kingdom had already donated 30 acres of land at Igenge Hill, near the Palace, where this proposed Institute of Science and Technology is to be located.

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Part of the land donated to the Arab investors is contested by Nowamani Mark and, Mr. Dhikusooka Tonny, his client, as they deny ever transferring it to anyone else. To that effect, a Criminal Trespass case was lodged at the Jinja Central Police Station as SD88/20/3/2019.

A record of the case lodged at Jinja Central Police.

“In offering an alternative way of dealing with this situation, since we wouldn’t want to stand in the way of any development in the Kingdom, through his aides, we asked Dr. Muvawala to buy out our interest and proceed with the developments to which his offer wasn’t substantial. Remember we have to pay off a mortgage and also be able to relevantly recover our investment,” intimated Nowamani Mark. “It is at this stage that I was tipped that the matter I was pursuing was very sensitive since it involved the Prime Minister Dr. Muvawala in Bugembe and as thus I had to be arrested, I presume to get me to back off,” he added.

For any person or institution to get to construct in Bugembe, Bugembe Town Council must make the approval after the applicant shows proof of ownership. We couldn’t independently verify whether this process was followed.

Nowamani Mark admits he is currently living in fear after surviving the alleged intimidation arrest. “I don’t know what else they’re capable of. I now can’t even visit my family in Jinja.”

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Nowamani Mark, a general legal practitioner, is a Partner at DeMott Law Advocates & Solicitors. He is a practicing Advocate and has been practicing law since 2013.

We could neither get a comment on the matter from the Busoga Kingdom Premier nor the Kingdom spokesperson since we are minors (Bakopi.)

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