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Uganda: Shell Oil Sued Over Makerere Land

The Monitor (Kampala) Uganda: Shell Oil Sued Over Makerere Land

17 April 2008
Angelo Izama
Kampala

An estates administrator has accused Shell of fraudulently acquiring land on which its petrol station on Makerere hill stands.

Ms Lydia Kizito claims the oil giant illegally bought the land from Mr Dennis Kasule.
 
Mr Kasule, a Shell-dealer- turned-land owner, entered a transaction with the oil company in respect the land which was allegedly never his.

Ms Kizito says her father and grandfather owned the contested piece of land.

The case is before Justice Moses Mukiibi of the High Court.

Yesterday, Justice Mukiibi asked lawyers representing the two parties to expedite the case which promises to shine yet another spotlight on Uganda’s unreliable record keeping system.

The oil company has been running its business on the property for close to 30 years and should have known better who the principals on the land were, says Ms Kizito.

The case has been adjourned to May 12 at the request of Shell which initially had contested the right of Ms Kizito to contest ownership of the land.

Ms Kizito seeks an unspecified amount in damages from the company.

On its part Shell says it acquired the land from its lawful owner.

Ms Kizito’s lawyer, Mr Stephen Musisi, said he could not comment on an on-going case. Shell was represented by Mr James Mukasa of Sebalu-Lule and Company Advocates.

Mr Mukasa did not return Daily Monitor’s calls. The law firm said he was in meetings when we called. Uganda’s land registry has been a nightmare for land owners and prospective owners alike because of its ancient system of physically storing title deeds.

An attempt at creating an electronic archive at the registry has stalled despite public outcry. Corruption in the lucrative real estate sector buoyed by record high land prices has attracted fraudsters who forge titles.

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