According to DailyMonitor, an Irish national, David Michael O’Connel, has cried out after the Mpigi Magistrate Court in Uganda ordered him out of a house, ten plots of land, and a farm worth billions of shillings after he bought the properties in the names of his Ugandan fiancée but could not prove that he is the financier behind them.
In her decision on Friday, September 10, Chief Magistrate Ruth Nabaasa stated that the court would not go into the nitty-gritty of whether Mr O’Connel financed the money used by Ms Catherine Nakawooza to acquire 10 plots of land, 10 acres of farmland at Namayumba in Wakiso District, and a house worth billions.
“Being the financier of a land transaction in which another person becomes registered as the proprietor is not one of the legally recognized exceptions to indefeasibility of title under the Registration of Titles Act,” Chief Magistrate Nabaasa ruled.
“It appears moot and academic for this court to consider whether the respondent’s (Mr O’Connel) funds paid for the petitioners’ lands” (Ms Nakawooza). I am aware that the petitioner (Ms Nakawooza) contested the link between the documentary evidence presented by the respondent to prove that he was the source of funds for the petitioner’s land transactions,” she added.
“However, based on my findings in issue 2, I am satisfied that the petitioner’s (Ms Nakawooza’s) residential home, where she ordinarily resides with her three issues, rightfully belongs to her.” “An order is issued prohibiting the respondent (Mr O’Connel) from entering this home without the petitioner’s prior permission,” Ms Nabaasa ruled.
Mr Godfrey Rwalinda represented Ms Nakawooza, and Mr Mohammad Mbabazi represented Mr O’Connel.
According to court documents, Mr O’Connel and Ms Nakawooza began dating around 2002.
The couple began dating around the same time and eventually had three children.
According to court records, Ms Nakawooza testified that she married Mr O’Connel in a traditional marriage on January 25, 2014, in Bweyogerere, near Kampala.
She also provided evidence that while they were cohabiting, she acquired a number of real estate properties, which she registered in her names and entrusted all title documents to Mr O’Connel’s custody and care.
Ms Nakawooza also testified that after their marriage, they bought another property in Nansana with 11 self-contained rental units, the details of which Mr O’Connel withheld from her.
In response, Mr O’Connel denied having a traditional wedding with Ms Nakawooza.
He claimed that the events of January 25, 2014, in Bweyogerere did not constitute a traditional marriage, but rather a visit to Ms Nakawooza’s mother to be known as the man dating their daughter and also the father of the three children.
Mr O’Connel also stated that because he was not a Ugandan, he was not permitted to purchase mailo land, so he purchased it in Ms Nakawooza’s name.
“At the trial, the respondent (Mr O’Connel) presented a plethora of documents demonstrating bank transfers and bills of exchange to prove that he was the actual source of funds that paid for the properties,” Mr O’Connel stated.
“He also claimed that the understanding between him and the petitioner was that, because he was a foreigner of Irish citizenship who could not own mailo interests in land in Uganda, the petitioner would execute peppercorn leases in his favour as lessee for each of the properties, grant him powers of attorney to use the properties, and would grant him powers of attorney to use the properties.”
The Irishman also denied being a cruel father to his three children, as Nakawooza claimed.
Ms Nakawooza sought a court order to annul their alleged marriage, an order barring Mr O’Connel from entering their matrimonial home, and an order granting her custody of their children in her lawsuit.
However, the court ruled that no marriage existed between the two, so there was nothing to dissolve.
The court, on the other hand, agreed with Ms Nakawooza and granted her custody of their three children because they are still young and need their mother’s care.
Mr O’Connel stated on September 12 that he was dissatisfied with the court decision and that he would file an appeal within 14 days.
“When foreign investors like myself are targeted for their assets here, the word spreads quickly, scaring away many more potential investors,” he said.