In a letter dated September 16th , 2020 letter, Kampala Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, appointed renowned city lawyer Mr. David Balondemu as the chairperson of Kampala District Land board.
Balondemu was selected from five board members representing the five divisions of Kampala. His appointment was after the earlier orders by then KCCA acting executive director Andrew Kitaka who had suspended the activities of the board following the expiry of the term of its members and the subsequent retirement of the Board chairperson Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi after serving 10 years as stipulated in the Section; 59 of the Land Act.
Balondemu assumed office in December 2020 little did he know that his appointment was not a mere task of holding and allocating land not owned by any person and the Authority but rather a deadly fight with city land mafias /shoddy land dealers.
These have since caused him troubles to the extent of almost losing his life in addition to the several cases that continue to mushroom day by day while trying to execute his duty.
With the help of a well placed source, this publication discovered the genesis of what many have called a witch-hunt but also involved executing President Museveni’s directives.
Sources at City Hall that preferred anonymity, indicated that upon assuming KDLB office, Mr. Balondemu found several challenges but he maneuvered some. Among these were; Case backlog, double allocation of land, rampant evictions in city, numerous court cases against the Board, giving away wetlands, poor working relations between the Board and KCCA technical wing.
Sources also confirmed that all these have been improved after shortest time he has been at the helm of the Board. They added that he has been able to streamline the operation of the Board and even increase revenue collection.
However, among the key challenges and task he found with the board was the several requests by President Museveni to have St. Balikuddembe Owino Market land titles back to (Government) from St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Spaces and Lockups Association (SSLOA).
We also have learnt that when this matter was tabled, the members remained skeptical but Balondemu made a decision as a chairperson of re-entry with a motive to return the land and what was on that land back to government.
A source said that the chairperson gave accounts on; of failure by the occupants to develop the market as per agreed period of 10 years. Furthermore, there was no show of seriousness to develop the market. Much as during the process there were a lot of sabotage from the beneficiaries (SSLOA), it was from this time that the KDLB chairperson took a decision by writing to the President guiding him on how to intervene.
Sources further explained that the matter worsened after the president replied to the letter recommending Balondemu and further instructing the Lands Minister to ensure what was guided is followed to the dot.
This angered the group and they resorted to suing him and the interim chairperson of Owino market at the time (Ms. Suzan Kushaba) as individuals trying to block the transfers.
And in this case, the group was defeated hands down. This publication has since been informed that after the beneficiaries being defeated in court, Balondemu started receiving phone calls and messages of death threats, pictures of his Kampala residents to appear in the news among others.
We have also been informed that during the same time, they tried to offer him with Shs10b, which he declined.
When all this had failed to work out, and when they recently learnt that SACHU was prosecuting him in connection with 2020 case of sale and purchase of gold. And according to this case, it’s alleged that Balondemu’s role was to draft the agreement of parties that were involved. This later turned out to be contractual and person defrauded was not there.
Information reaching this publication alleges that the group is in close association with SACHU. But also said to have hired a team of mainstream media and social media bloggers to amplify their scheme. According to these sources more cases are yet to pop-up as they keep KDLB chairperson inside court so as to penetrate Kampala lands office for their usual selfish motives.
Korean fraud case
It is alleged that in this case some two suspects; Jeff Maviri and Godfrey Mugisha were arrested and taken Special Investigations Unit Kireka, where they spent for two weeks and allegedly coached to implicate him on promises that were in turn to be given bail. Later in a new twist bail was not granted and these have been on remand in Luzira prisons for close to two months now.
Sources from the legal team of Balondemu is demanding for a trial but the state has been insisting that it’s not ready. The case has since been abandoned and now with this new case of Shs2.2 billion from KG Uganda Limited LLC, an American Company in a purported procurement of a water plant by Ministry of Agriculture to which this legal team still insist they don’t have substantial evidence to implicate their client.
According to the criminal case No. 864 -2023, suspects were equally arrested and one of the suspects allegedly confessed and subsequently he was charged and sent to Luzira prisons.
This matter is currently at the hearing stage at Buganda Road Court by Principal Grade I Magistrate Jutiko Winnie Nankya.
A source from Balondemu legal team says, currently the complainants are desperate to involve their client in the crime in that he worked in a law firm and that he could have been involved in the crime and should be added on the charge sheet. “We will not accept that because this case criminals were investigated, concluded and suspects confessed,” a source from the legal team stated.
*Land deals Balondemu blocked*
Sources have since revealed that one the biggest one was the St. Balikuddembe Owino Market to which the SSLOA led by former chairman Godfrey Nkajja Kayongo had earlier demanded USD350m compensation from the president who had almost agreed.
According sources, this was a deadly deal because SSLOA doesn’t belong to Kayongo as it was alleged. They added that Kayongo has since vanished in thin air but these dealers are said to big people in government who are currently fueling the witch-hunt and prosecution of Balondemu after closing their lines.
Other deals include the denial and takeover of Plot 43 on Ben Kiwanuka street, by a certain Kampala businessman, another plot along Lumumba Avenue by a certain Minister while other deals denied was for the former Shimoni land and another plot in Kyambogo.
These have apparently put the life of KDLB chairperson Balondemu at stake and continuously in police cells and prison.