KAMPALA —A family has petitioned the State House Anti Corruption Unit (SH-ACU), an anti-graft wing in the office of the President—accusing the Principal Judge, Dr. Flavian Zeija of using his position to obstruct justice and in the process facilitate a huge fraudulent land transaction.
Through their lawyers of F.X Ogwado &Co. Advocates, the family members including Peter Kyeyune, Herbert Katta and Philip Ndugga want Gen. Henry Isoke’s anti corruption unit to investigate and restrain the Principal Judge back off the contested land located in Busiro Block 444 Plot 214 and 227 at Nkumba in Wakiso District.
According to a petition received by the State House Anti Corruption Unit on February 3, it is indicated that the children, whose father, the Late Solomon Kamya died on the 26th day of June 2000 was the rightful owner of the contested land since June 1997, registered with land directorate.
By the time he died, documents including the birth certificates and National IDs attached to the petition show that all his children ( now petitioners) were of minority age and had no legal capacity to contract.
“Sometime in the year 2020, our clients had the desire to distribute the land among themselves in equal proportion but they were frustrated when they conducted a search and discovered with shock that a one Veronica Kaihura had fraudulently got herself registered on the titles on 21 March 2002 and on 22nd May 2003 respectively. It is important to note that by that time their father with whom they were registered proprietors had long died. And they were still minors. (Copies of their National Identity cards clearly indicating their respective dates of birth are attached hereto and marked “C”, “D” and “E” respectively). Who then signed any deeds, agreements or transfer forms on behalf of their late father and on their own behalf when they were minors?” The lawyers representing the petitioners wrote.
According to the petition, children claim that they later came across a copy of an undated agreement of sale purportedly executed between their uncle James Mwambala, also referred to in the agreement as (Mukuza), Joyce Nansubuga and themselves on the one hand and Ms. Veronica Kaihura on the other.
The undated agreement was witnessed by Dr. Flavian Zeija, according to the petition.
“The most conspicuous signature of the witness upon the purported agreement is that of Flavian Zeija of Zeija & Co. Advocates as he then was,” they wrote, also attaching a copy of the purported agreement,” the petition alleges.
“Our clients petitioned the office of the Commissioner Land Registration who convened a public hearing and the fraudulent registration of Ms. Veronica Kaihura was succefully cancelled and our clients re-instated with their same Instrument Numbers as before.
Our clients lodged Police SD Ref 70/07/01/2023 at Entebbe Police Station for forgery and fraudulent registration against the said Ms. Veronica Kaihura. To our client’s disappointment, the Police Investigators have not taken any step to record a statement from the suspect. Instead, the Police has opened up multiple case files against our clients and their casual labourers accusing them of Criminal trespass on the instance of the said Ms. Veronica Kaihura who has not recorded a statement to date.”
“One Police investigator only known as Etyang revealed to us that because the Principle Judge had made a phone call indicating that he is very interested in the matter. When asked why our clients’ case file is redundant, Mr. Etyang informed us in confidence that there is a “big person” the Principle Judge behind it.”
“The same Veronica Kaihura has instituted High Court Civil Suit No. 67 of 2023 Land Division against our clients and we believe that the invisible hand of the Principle Judge who has a visible interest in this case shall obstruct justice after all he is the Principle Judge the head of the High Court of Uganda. The Equitable maxim, “justice must not only be done but be seen to be done” guides our clients to believe that the judicial process shall be biased unless the influence of the said Principle Judge is nipped in the bud. It is believed that if the Police are afraid of the Principle Judge, how much more afraid shall the judicial officers who are directly under his supervision be?”
“Our clients are caught up between a rock and a hard place. They do not expect any impartiality from both the Courts and Police for which reason they seek the intervention of this office to prevail upon Dr. Flavian Zeija and investigate the circumstances under which he prepared and witnessed an undated illegal agreement between his then client on the one hand, and our clients who were minors and a mukuza who neither had Letters of Administration nor a guardianship order as required by law”.
The children want Gen Isoke pick interest in the matter and investigate the alleged fraudulent actions of Ms. Veronica Kaihura and have her and the Principal Judge Dr Zeija prosecuted for the same.
Who is Dr. Flavian Zeija
Dr. Flavian Zeija is a lawyer, academic and judge, on the High Court of Uganda, who doubles as the country’s Principal Judge, effective 25 December 2019.
In Uganda, a Principal Judge is responsible for supervising the justices of the High Court, including the assignment of duties to members of the Court.
The Principal Judge is also responsible for supervising the Magistrates Courts below the High Court.
In his capacity as the Principal Judge, Justice Flavian Zeija is the third-highest ranking judicial officer in the country.
The top five judicial officers are ranked as follows: 1. the Chief Justice of Uganda 2. the Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda 3. the Principal Judge 4. the Secretary to the Judiciary and 5. the Chief Registrar.
He was born on Feburary 18, 1969, making him 50 years old.
Justice Zeija enrolled as an advocate of the High Court in 1998, meaning he has had a legal career of more than 21 years.
At the time of his appointment, the father of five was the resident judge of Mbarara High Court circuit, the largest circuit in the country.
He was appointed as a High Court judge in 2016.
Prior to his appointment at the Bench, Justice Zeija was into legal practice and teaching.
At the time of his appointment as a High Court judge about seven years ago, he was a lawyer and managing partner with Zeija, Mukasa & Co advocates.
Between 2014 and 2016, he lectured at Uganda Christian University Mukono (UCU).
He also taught at Makerere University Business School (Mubs) and also at Makerere University.
While at Mubs, he was appointed the pioneer head of the department of Business Law.
Between 2005 and February 2011, he joined Finca Uganda as legal counsel and later Finca Africa IT services centre, a subsidiaries of Finca International based in Washington, USA.
He also worked at Tropical Africa Bank as manager legal and recovery between 2002 and 2003.
Earlier in his legal career in 1998, he joined as a legal assistant with Kwesigabo, Bamwine & Walubiri Co. Advocates.
About his education background, the new principal judge has a rich CV, having obtained the highest level in education of obtaining a doctorate of laws (Phd) from Dar es Salaam University in Tanzania between 2008 and 2013.
He specialised in law and governance during his research.