Bugolobi supermarket, office premises face demolition

KAMPALA.

A Supermarket and office premises standing on a one-hectare piece of land in Bugolobi, a Kampala suburb, face demolition over alleged breach of contract by its proprietor.

In the case filed before the Nakawa High Court, the National Forestry Authority (NFA) wants the buildings and any structures constructed by VIRCO holdings Limited on the Central Forest Reserve land removed.

Through its lawyers, NFA alleges that VIRCO Holdings was granted a licence to construct and establish a timber drying plant and a modern artisan training centre on one hectare portion of its five hectares of Nakawa Central Forest Reserve but instead processed a lease contrary to the agreement.

“Unknown to the plaintiff and in an act of fraudulent concealment, the defendant had purportedly applied, stealthily to Uganda Land Commission (ULC) which has the freehold title to or of the suit land for a lease of a portion of the land to the defendant and the ULC allegedly granted the lease whose title and relevant details have been deliberately concealed from the plaintiff to date,” reads the complaint.

NFA is accusing VIRCO Holdings, owned by investors of Asian origin, of persistently declining to pay annual licence fees on claims that they hold a superior title and answerable to ULC only.

Allegations

12, the defendant having deliberately and stubbornly refused to remit the licence fees, continued to insist that the plaintiff’s invoices for licence fees were sent to it in error allegedly on account of events that evolved overtime by virtue of which the defendant claimed to be answerable to ULC,” NFA alleges.

The NFA alleges that the arbitrary, high handed and unconstitutional conduct of VIRCO Holdings has led to enormous suffering which warrant for award of compensation for damages arising out of the controversy on the land worth Shs5 billion.

Meanwhile, the court has summoned VIRCO Holdings to file their response in defence of the case within 15 days. When contacted, businessman Sadrudin Virani said he cannot comment since he is in Dubai, UAE.

It is alleged that the contradictions on the contractual obligations in the original licence agreement with NFA culminated in the construction of a shopping mall on part of the land which houses the Kenya-based Tuskys Supermarket.

NFA legal manager Ruth Kisaakye said if the original plan of establishing a timber drying plant and a modern artisan training centre was maintained, it would have helped Uganda’s unemployed youth acquire practical vocational skills.

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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