By Trusted News Reporter
City businessman Ephraim Ntaganda is under spotlight after being accused of grabbing the land for Bat Valley Bar and Restaurant in Kampala.
The disputed land is on plot 2- Semuliki -Walk, LRV 4464, Folio 23, in Nakasero III Parish-Kampala Central Urban Council around Kisseka market, belonging to Jyoti Damani and Hema Damani, the proprietors of the Bat Valley Bar and Restaurant.
The dispute started when Ephraim Ntaganda allegedly raided the premises in the night of the Sunday 29th last month under heavy security and demolished the structures housing the Bar and Restaurant after over powering the private guards that were protecting it.
It has emerged that after the night raid, Ntaganda dropped his container on the property and attempted to build a perimeter fence around it using iron sheets, all under the protection of the KPI Security company guards. Later the evictees reported to the Wandegeya Police Station under the file reference no. 17/28//08 for criminal tress pass.
Trusted News Website has learnt from the documents that the Damani’s owned the disputed property under a lease hold which was procured through Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) in 1994, running up to 2025.
Hema Damani told this Website that all approvals for their leased property were done by KCCA through KDLB, but got shocked on seeing Ntaganda arriving in the premises after they went down to put back the razed structures, claiming ownership of their property with his business partner Ivan Byaruhanga, which they have occupied for the last 27 years.
“Iam in the possession of this land by virtue of the container that had been left in the middle of the night”, Ntaganda said as he exchanged words with embattled property occupants.
It is against the above that the Damani’s sought redress with Court through their lawyer Isaac Walukagga, prompting the issuance of an interim order by the High Court Registrar H/W Simon Zirintuusa, maintaining the status quo until the main application has been heard. This matter which against 3 respondents, Ivan Byaruhanga who is accused of being fronted by Ntaganda, KDLB and the Commission for Land Registration, is coming up for hearing on 14th of this month before the same Court.
It should be noted that Ntaganda has been implicated into several dubious public land deals which were exposed by the justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s led Land Probe Commission inquiry, leading at one time to his detention at Wandegeya Police Station following hours of persistent interrogation.
The Commission also pinned him for trading in government land which is illegal, citing the land for Kajjansi Forest Reserve in Wakiso district, the land for Nakasero Primary School playing field in Kampala and the land for protected areas in Nakawa division-Kampala,among others, which he all denied.
Land Changes Hands.
It has emerged from the Court documents that a title for the land in question has since then been issued to Ntaganda’s henchman Ivan Byaruhanga in consideration of $ 40,000, about one hundred forty two million, seven hundred and forty thousand shillings.
However, this transaction is contested by the Damani’s who insist that they were never given a notice to defend their position during re -entry for the titles purporting to deprive their interests for such prime land in the city center, at only that amount of money.
The documents have shown further transfer of the land to Buko Minerals and Oil Limited, a firm owned by Augustine Rutaganda, Allan Muzima and Barbara Nalubega, all listed as shareholders.
KCCA officials Exposed
It has emerged that the officials from the district city land body of KDLB, went ahead with the lease grant to Ntaganda’s henchman over a continuing lease hold, despite a letter by the former KCCA Director for Physical Planning Moses Atwine dated 28th May 2020, giving a lee way for extension of the lease hold for Bat Valley Bar and Restaurant after 2025.
When contacted for a comment about the same, KDLB Chairperson David Balondemu declined, saying the matter was before Court.