High Court in Kampala has ordered Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to refund Shs4.8b paid by St Balikuddembe (Owino) Market vendors in 2011 for a non-existing piece of land purportedly at Kisenyi in Mengo.
The Court presided over by judge Musa Ssekaana also ordered KCCA to pay the traders more than Shs1.15b in compensation for loss suffered during the sale of their land on Plot 388 in Mengo-Kisenyi plus legal costs of Shs500m.
“The court has a duty to disgorge the value received from the plaintiff. This is intended to prevent gain by the defendant as a defaulting party against the plaintiff in order to stop unjust enrichment,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
The court agreed with the traders that the written statement of defence contains an admission of the initial sum of Shs4.2b.
“The defendant’s submission is neither here nor there, since the defendant admitted receiving a payment of Shs4.2b from the plaintiff and plaintiff has indeed satisfied the court that the said money was borrowed from the bank at an interest of 19 percent annum,” Justice Ssekaana observed.
In 2010, the defunct Kampala City Council leased the land occupied by Owino Market to the vendors through their St Balikuddembe Market stalls, space and Lock up Shops Owners Association (SSLOA) at Shs4b payable in advance and Shs200m as ground rent per annum.
The vendors secured a loan from dfcu Bank and paid to KCC for a number of plots at Owino Market and surrendered the leases as collateral security to the bank and mortgaged some titles for other land they privately owned.
However, after receiving the money from the vendors, KCC reportedly claimed it, saying it did not have any land to lease or sublease and it was thus unable to fulfil its obligations.
The vendors could not pay back the loan and the bank sold off their property in Kibuga on May 5, 2014 at Shs1.5b which was below the market value which was estimated at Shs3 billion.