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How city businessman forged signatures of Land Board chairperson to get title

KAMPALA – The High Court in Jinja has ordered for the immediate cancellation of a land title for a prime location in Jinja City, after hearing evidence that indeed, the said owner, businessman Jay Thummar Maganlal Patel obtained it through forgery and fraud.

During the hearing, court was moved to the evidence that Patel and accomplices had the minutes of the District Land Board forged, so was the signature of the Board Chairperson Ms Innocent Ndiko.

The land in question located at plot 24 along Kyabazinga Way and measuring 5.4 hectares was in August 2008 subleased by Jinja Municipal Council to Tirupati Development Limited for a period of 18 years.

Jinja Municipal Council had earlier got a 25-year lease from Jinja Land Board.

Tirupati then went through the legal process and paid necessary fees to obtain a title only for forged minutes to allocate the land to Jay Thummar Maganlal Patel.

In an August,16, 2021 ruling, Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko said that the land belongs to Tirupati by virtue of the sub-lease it obtained from Jinja Municipal Council.

During the hearing of the case, Tirupati’s lawyers presented to court a forensic handwriting report in which they noted that the title to Patel didn’t have the chairperson of the District Land Board’s signature whereas the council meeting minutes had been forged.

The Chairperson Jinja District Land Board testified that the minutes bearing her signature were forged and presented a police forensic examination of the document that confirmed that the document was forged.

In her ruling, Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko found that not only were the minutes forged but that there was no evidence that any statutory payments had been made by Mr. Patel to grant him a title. The judge held that the fraud could directly be “imputed” to Mr Jay Thummar Maganlal Patel.

The judge explained that it is not clear how Patel had acquired the same land on freehold, adding that there was fraud.

“I therefore find that fraud can be imputed on the part of the defendant (Patel) since he failed to explain to the satisfaction of court how he came to be offered this land and court is inclined to believe that the said minute offering the freehold to the defendant was inserted fraudulently,” Justice Rwakakooko ruled.

The judge directed that Patel pays shs10 million in general damages to Tirupati as well as cancelling the freehold land title that Patel had got on the said land.

In 2019, Justice Bamugemereire directed former Jinja West MP, Moses Balyeku and Jay Thummar Maganlal Patel to furnish their bank details to Land Inquiry to help in an on-going investigation.

She directed this after Jay Thummar Maganlal Patel forged minutes of Jinja Land Board

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