The Constitutional Court has ruled that land probe that was headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, was wrong to order for the arrest and detention of city businessman, Abid Alam when he had appeared before it to inquire about his over 10,000 acres of land in Mubende District.
In a 4:1 majority decision of the Nakasero-based court, the justices held that the move to cause his arrest violated his right to a fair hearing, own land among other constitutional breaches.
City lawyer Fred Muwema who represented businessman Abid Alam (petitioner) filed the case in the Constitutional Court challenging Justice Bamugemereire actions.
“The act of the land commission of inquiry in directing or ordering the arrest of the 1st petitioner (Abid Alam) on account of his violation of mediation settlement initiated and endorsed by the land commission, violated the plaintiff’s right to land, liberty and fair hearing,” ruled justice Barishaki in his lead decision today.
In his petition, the businessman had claimed that he is the proprietor of approximately 10,000 acres of land in Mubende District.
He adds that he acquired the said land between 2001 and 2004 and had fully developed it with suitable infrastructure for commercial farming.
The businessman went on to contend that on December 8, 2016, the land probe was instituted by the President and in 2017, the same commission conducted a public hearing on his land which saw many complaints raised by ex-world war servise men, claiming to have interest on his chunks of land.
“The commission of inquiry gave a directive for preservation of the status quo in regard to the 2nd petitioner’s land as it conducts a mediation between the warring parties,” Mr Abid stated in his petition
Adding:”On November 7, 2017, the commission of inquiry issued a warrant of arrest of the 1st petitioner (Mr Abid). When the 1st petitioner appeared before the commission, he was arrested and detained at Wandegeya Police Station on the orders of the commission. He was detained from 11am to 11pm when he was released upon his undertaking not to interfer with the status quo of the 2nd petitioner’s land.”
Further, the justices held that the acts of the commission of exercising judicial power by issuing orders preserving the status quo on Mr Abid’s land run by Mityana Farm Group Enterprise Ltd, were unconstitutional as they contravened Articles 2 (2) & 126 (1) of the constitution.
The other justices who concurred with justice Cheborion were Egonda Ntende, Owiny Dollo, Kenneth Kakuru while Justice Christopher Izama Madrama differed but agreed on certain issues.
Credit: Eagle Online