The land division of the High Court in Kampala has dismissed a suit filed by a group of Indian nationals against businessman Amos Nzeyi and National Social Security Fund seeking to have them forced off the land.
The Indians under their company, Temangalo Tea Estates Limited in 2016 dragged the two to court claiming that they owned a lease of 79 years from 1924 at Temangalo which they abandoned when Idi Amin expelled Asians in 1972 and they wanted court to force Nzeyi and NSSF off the land.
Nzeyi bought the land from one Abbas Mawanda and sold part of it to NSSF.
However, on Wednesday, Justice Eudes Keitirima said that the Indians had claimed that they had filed a case against Nzeyi in 1993 and that their application had been adjourned to allow for negotiations between the two parties but noted the outcome of the negotiations has never been revealed.
“Therefore, since the plaintiff/respondent(Indians) cause of action rose way back in 1993 and instead filed it in 2016, which is 23 years after, they are barred by limitation as the suit was instituted outside the statutory limitation as provide for under section 5 of the Limitation cap 80,”the judge ruled.
Barred by limitation means any claims or action beyond the statutory limitation period are not allowed.
In this case, the Indians took long to file the suit and can therefore not stand.
The judge said that 23 years since the Indians had entered into the alleged negotiations with Nzeyi over the Temangalo land was too long for them to return to court to reinstitute the same case after the alleged failed negotiations.
“Negotiations could not have taken over 23 years as the respondent(Indians) would wish to intimate and if they indeed took that period, it was to their detriment.”
The judge blamed the Indians for failure to give reasons that led to the delay in filing the application for all that time noting that it could have handled as special case warranting exemption to the exemption period.
“The suit and the miscellaneous applications arising therefrom are therefore rejected and struck out with costs to the defendants for being barred by limitation,” Justice Keitirima ruled.