Court orders eviction of Buliisa prison

Prison officers in a cotton farm. (Courtesy photo).

Court has ordered eviction of a government prison sitting on about 500 acres of land in Buliisa District over wrongful occupation.

Buliisa Prison at Kabbolwa hosts a prison farm. It has a cotton plantation on about 200 acres while the rest of about 300 acres hosts staff quarters and trees whose worth could not be readily established by press time. 

Chief Magistrate, Deo John Ssejjemba, ruled that the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) is a trespasser on the estate of the late Jackson Bikobo Mwanga.

In a decree issued on February 4, 2021, Mr Sejjemba directed Uganda police or other relevant authorities to facilitate the bailiff in ensuring that the execution is carried out without delay or obstruction as ordered by court.

The ruling stems from a suit by Ms Winnie Bikobo Nalumu, the administrator of the late Mwanga’s estate against government in 2017 seeking repossession of the said land.

The court said the Attorney General, the government chief pleader, did not challenge the suit although he was served the hearing notice.

On December 16, 2020, the court ruled in favour of Ms Bikobo and awarded her Shs40m in general damages and legal costs after the plaintiff had been prevented from using the land without any legitimate excuse on the part of Uganda Prisons Services for a period of three years.

The next day, Mr Ssejjemba issued a decree ordering Uganda prisons to vacate the land immediately or evicted by force at their own cost and also barred it permanently from using in any way the plaintiff’s land described as Kabbolwa Estate at Buliisa.

However, Uganda prisons did not vacate the land prompting Bikobo to run back to court and sought a fresh order to evict Uganda prisons.

Mr Denis Asiimwe, a court bailiff of Majimoto Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs.

On February 4, the court issued another decree to Mr Denis Asiimwe, a court bailiff of Majimoto Auctioneers, who represented Ms Bikobo-the plaintiff.

Mr Asiimwe yesterday (Tuesday) said they have served UPS the court order and eviction notice and informed the Attorney General and police to witness the eviction.

“We expected to find out from them through the court how they got possession of the land, they were served but only submitted the letter of defence meaning that they don’t have any reason as why they are possessing the land.”

The spokesman of Uganda Prisons Service, Frank Baine, said there is contention on the said land but declined to give further details saying the Commissioner General of Prisons, Dr Johnson Byabashaija is more authoritative to talk about the matter.

By press time, Dr Byabashaija had not responded to our calls and text messages sent to him.

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