KAMPALA. The property wrangle over the estate of former Masaka Mayor John Tebyasa Matovu has taken a new twist with the High Court in Kampala ordering his daughter to remove a caveat on a piece of prime land to allow her half-brother Dr Joseph Wasswa Matovu utilise it.
On March 3, 2017, the High Court ruled that the caveat (restriction) placed on Tebyasa’s land in Bunamwaya by his daughter Dorothy Matovu, was illegally done. Court ordered immediate removal of the caveat to allow Dr Wasswa to access it.
Ms Matovu had lodged a caveat on the land to prevent its disposal by her half-brother Dr Wasswa.
However court said Dr Wasswa, a lecturer at Makerere University, has a right to take care of the land in question because he had been appointed as manager of his father’s estate since the had become of unsound mind.
The judge observed that Ms Matovu is not yet a beneficiary of the said land since her father is still alive.
“It was never in dispute that the applicant (Dr Wasswa) is a court appointed manager of the estate of a person of unsound mind. In her affidavit the caveator failed to prove a protectable interest in the said land. I thus find that the caveat lodged in 2014 and registered in 2016 is invalid and should be vacated forthwith. ” Justice Jane Kiggundu ruled.
The judge added: I am of the opinion that the first respondent (Ms Matovu) would be a beneficiary in the estate upon the demise of her father and not before that. Further in her affidavit she has not indicated the nature of her claim or interest in the said land. I find that she does not fall within the categories of either a beneficiary or one with a demonstrable and protectable interest in the property.”
Court ordered Ms Mativu to pay her half-brother Dr Wasswa costs of the case. However the judge declined to grant orders for contempt and attendant fines as sought by Dr Wasswa on ground that such orders would further divide the family which is already torn apart.
The ruling was in respect of an application Dr Wasswa filed in court challenging his step-sister’s decision to place a caveat on their father’s land yet he is the appointed manager of the estate.
In defence, Ms Matovu had stated that soon after their father had been declared of unsound mind court in Masaka on January 18, 2013, his half-brother Dr Wasswa obtained a one-sided court order to manage the affairs of their father’s estate.
She added that his half-brother obtained the said court order to run their father’s estate without consent of the rest of the family members.
Ms Matovu further claimed that Dr Wasswa was looking for buyers to dispose of the said land and it was the reason she placed a caveat on the land to protect it.
Dr Wasswa had stated that he wanted to sell part of the property to meet the welfare and medical expenses of their ailing father.
In the ruling, Justice Kiggundu wondered whether the registrar of land titles who entered the caveat on this land at Kyaddondo block 265 in Bunamwaya has slightest knowledge about the land law.
The judge recommended that the ministry of Lands works out a training programme for its staff to address such glaring defects.