High court in Kampala has asked Sam Mayanja, the minister of state for Lands, to defend himself against a damaging allegation – that he illegally transferred land and dispossessed a Non governmental organisation of its asset worth billions of shillings.
Mayanja is battling the allegations together with Capson Limited. In documents before the court, Mayanja is accused of abandoning his fiduciary duty as board chairman of Feed The Children Uganda Limited and colluding with two individuals to transfer 0.3 hectares of land, located in Mulago on Block 29, Plot 68.
In an affidavit before the court, Nicholas Kasangaki, the current Feed The Children Uganda Limited executive director, accuses Mayanja of being the mastermind of a consent judgment that illegally surrendered the land to enrich himself.
“The impugned consent judgment and resultant decree are suspect and smacks of fraud and illicit enrichment on the part of the respondents and/or proposed defendants,” reads Kasangaki’s affidavit in part.
“There is suspicion of corruption and apparent foul play involving backdoor deals, connivance and collusion in causing loss to the Applicant Company and intent to cripple the activities of the applicant [Feed The Children Uganda Limited].”
According to court documents, Feed The Children Larry Jones International Ministries was a registered company in Uganda until it ceased operations in 2005 and morphed into Feed The Children Uganda Limited.
The new NGO took over the assets and liabilities of the former, including chunks of land across Kampala. Controversy arose in 2011 during Mayanja’s tenure as board chairman of Feed The Children Uganda Limited. The NGO appointed Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), a law firm where Mayanja is a partner, as company secretary.
Incidentally, on that very day, the NGO entered a consent judgment to surrender, among others, its headquarters in Mulago to Jessy Olukutukei and Joram Odeke T/s Felbright and Co. who purported to be employees of Feed The Children Larry Jones International Ministries.
The said land is reportedly worth Shs 2bn and with this giveaway, Feed The Children Uganda Limited became a tenant in their headquarters, something Kasangaki asked the court to reverse.
Kasangaki claims that the appointment of KAA was illegal on grounds that Dr. Philippa Musoke, the said board chairperson, who signed off the appointment, had already left the organization in 2009. He backs this up with Musoke’s resignation letter and a police forensic report that confirms Dr. Musoke’s signature used to hire KAA was forged.
Kasangaki further suspects that the said Jessy Olukutukei and Joram Odeke, to whom the land was given, are fronts because the said land was immediately transferred to a company called T/S Capson Limited.
Even so, Joram Odeke T/s Felbright and Co. and Feed The Children Larry Jones International Ministries Inc. had ceased operations in Uganda by the time of the consent agreement. Incidentally, Mayanja resigned as board chairman of Feed the Children in 2012 without giving a reason.
It is against this background that Kasangaki asked the High court to set aside the said consent judgment and have Mayanja and Capson defend themselves in the alleged fraud.
In an August 10, 2021 ruling by Justice Henry Kawesa, the High court consolidated all the cases regarding this matter into one. He also ordered Mayanja and Capson Limited to be added as defendants to the suit.
“I find various discrepancies regarding the status of all respondents who took part in the consent. There is an illegality glaring on record regarding the legal status of the 3rd respondent,” reads Kawesa’s ruling. “An illegality once brought to the attention of court cannot be allowed to stand.”