It is now six months since the once reclusive family of tycoon Mohan Kiwanuka became a media soap opera due to a protracted legal battle over property.
Much as the central issue surrounds the mental state of the family patriarch and his capacity to make vital decisions of late, the legal battle is between his two families after initial talks to resolve the issue out of court failed, writes DERRICK KIYONGA.
At stake are properties worth billions of shillings that pit the family of Kiwanuka’s first wife Beatrice Kavuma Kiwanuka on one hand, and another side led by Maria Nabasirye Kiwanuka, his second wife.
In the latest legal episode, Beatrice has challenged the move to grant Kenneth Tendo Mdoe powers of attorney to swear testimony on behalf of Mohan Kiwanuka. There is no reason given why Mohan Kiwanuka is incapable of representing himself in court.
According to an affidavit filed on March 23, a copy of which The Observer has seen, Beatrice contends that Mdoe is not suited to represent her husband.
“The said ploy to have Mdoe provide testimony on personal matters on behalf of my husband is solely designed by my husband’s minders and advisors to avoid/prevent my husband, who suffers from dementia, from personally giving testimony or becoming the subject of cross examination on any facts in his current condition,” reads part of the affidavit.
“In addition, Mdoe is a cousin of my husband’s second wife, Maria Kiwanuka which signifies a clear testimony that I am the ultimate target and the subject of embarrassment and harassment by Maria, who has fomented discord between my husband and myself and his five children taking advantage of my husband’s current health concerns and denial of parentage of my children…”
Last September, Beatrice’s son, Jordan Sebuliba, kicked up the storm when, basing on medical records, asked court to pronounce itself on the mental state of his father on grounds that suffers from dementia, a mental deterioration of organic or functional origin to the Execution and Bailiffs division of the High court.
Mohan Kiwanuka had just ordered for the eviction of Sebuliba, his siblings and his mother from all his properties. Mohan did not testify in court but High court judge Musa Sekaana ruled that Mohan was of sound mind to run his businesses as he wishes.
This paved way for their eviction but in December, Beatrice sought redress in the Court of Appeal, which gave an interim order to High court’s Execution division stay the enforcement of the execution decree until the application is heard.
The matter at the Execution division is before Justice Elizabeth Kabanda and at stake is Beatrice’s matrimonial home in Kololo, Sebuliba’s office in Nakasero, his business premise in Kololo as well as land in Bwerenga. This is just a fraction of Mohan’s more than 50 assets in the upscale areas of Kololo, Nakasero and Kiwatule, among others.
One of the issues initially raised in the legal battle was the doubted paternity of some of Mohan’s children, particularly Sebuliba, whom Mohan went on record to deny. However, DNA results from Lancet Laboratories released last week removed that doubt and confirmed all the Kiwanuka children.
Reached out for a comment, Sebuliba declined to speak on the matter while Maria Kiwanuka did not answer our repeated calls.
According to court documents, it was established in May 2017 by doctors in the United Kingdom that Mohan has dementia. This was done in the presence of Maria Kiwanuka, who has not refuted it.
All was well until March 2019 when Mohan, through his lawyers Buwule and Mayiga Advocates, ordered Beatrice and Jordan to vacate all his properties while at the same time appointed Maria Kiwanuka as one of the directors.
This sparked off the legal battle, with Jordan claiming his father was influenced by his stepmother. Since then, the seesaw court battle has ensued and it remains to be seen whether the two sides will settle their differences amicably.