By Max Patrick Ocaido
City businessman Amos Nzeyi was on Thursday tasked to explain how he acquired and later sold the controversial 366 acre Temangalo land.
Nzeyi acquired the land in 1993 after buying it from former managing director of Uganda Development Bank, Abbas Mawanda, before controversially selling it to National Social Security Fund (NSSF) at Shs11bn in 2008.
While appearing before COSASE subcommittee chaired by Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East MP), a retired banker based in Vancouver, Canada Nazim Moosa, who is a member of the Moosa family that owned the contested land before Amin Dada expelled them in 1972, said they have tried to reclaim the land for 26years now in vain.
He wondered how ownership of this contested land exchanged hands from Mawanda to Nzeyi and eventually to NSSF yet they are the rightful owners of the land. However, in his submission to the committee, tycoon Nzeyi said that he followed right procedures and conducted due diligence in the purchase and eventual sale of Temangalo land.
Nzeyi said that he was contacted to buy the Temangalo land while he was relaxing at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala and that he did not buy the entire land as alleged and that he did not know about any running lease.
I purchased the property from Mr. Abbas Mawanda in 1991 after my lawyers, M/s Sebalu & Lule Advocates conducted a search and stratified me that the land was free of encumbrances. Mawanda sold to me after protracted negotiations on the price, size, survey and subdivision of the land. This process which took place about 2years and the title was handed over to me in 1991. During that period, I paid Mawanda by cheques totaling to Shs7.4m pending conclusion of a sale agreement. The cheques were dated 8tyh, 20th, 22 and the last one was 5th April 1991.
In his submission, Nzeyi said that they had initially agreed to buy 174acres of the land at Shs43m, but on October 2nd 1991, Mawanda changed his mind through an addendum and reduced the acreage to 116acres and reportedly retained the 60acres. Nzeyi blamed any alterations in the land to Mawanda saying he bought and sold the land without any encumbrances.
“Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) correspondence and the title all indicate that re-entry was effected by Mawanda on 15th October 1988, long before I purchased this land. I therefore acquired the land free of lease encumbrances, as the same was terminated prior. I owned the mailo interest in perpetuity and transferred it to NSSF,” Nzeyi said.
It is worth noting that Temangalo Tea Estates (TTE) claimed a leasehold interest on the contested land for 79years dating from 1st September 1924. In his submission, Nazim Moosa claims that this lease expropriated by Amin’s government in 1972 and vested under management of the Custodian Board. Indeed, by April 28, 1993, the Board stated that TTE, “was the original registered proprietor” and advised occupants to negotiate Nzeyi’s Temangalo Tea Estate regarding their occupation.
However, Nzeyi insists that he does not recognize any lease or repossession of this land and has nothing to negotiate about because he rightfully bought and sold the land. He also denied forging a land title saying that he was using the same title to picks loans from several banks without any hindrances.
Nzeyi told the parliamentary committee that he has been holding this land without any hiccups or ownership contestations until 2008 when he sold it. He explained that he was having a drink at Kampala Club, when he was approached that NSSF was interested in buying his Temangalo land.
“I sold the land to NSSF because I needed money to recapitalize my defunct National Bank of Commerce,” Nzeyi said adding that he offered the sale of land at Shs28m per acre.