A Kampala lawyer has petitioned the Constitutional Court challenging the legality of depositing compensation monies in courts of law to allow an ongoing government activities amid a pending dispute.
The petition filed before Court is challenging various sections of the Land Acquisition law which allow the Attorney General (AG) to seek permission of Court to make payment in Court.
The Land Acquisition Act also vests the High Court with powers to order compensation monies to be paid in courts and that government may thereupon occupy and use the land.
Lawyer Daniel Omara, jointly with civil society bodies; Advocates for Natural Resources and Development (ANARDE) as well as Resource Rights Africa Limited petitioned the court against the Attorney General (AG) and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Through their lawyers, the petitioners allege that the provisions are in contravention of Articles 26, 21, 22, 28 and Objective XIV of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution.
Tilenga Oil Project
The case arises from compensation disputes in Midwestern districts to which the petitioners contend that before arriving at and before payment of a fair and adequate compensation to persons affected by Tilenga Oil project in Bullisa District and the construction of Hoima-Buhimba road, AG and UNRA have continued to apply to Court to deposit in Court and take over people’s land.
“That the act and or omission of the High Court at Masindi in November 2020 by ordering deposit of asset payment for compulsory acquisition of land be made into Court on such conditions as it thinks appropriate and allowing the respondents (AG and UNRA) or their agents to take possession of the property before payment of an adequate and fair compensation is inconsistent with in contravention of the Constitution,” reads the complaint.
The petitioners are now seeking for orders declaring sections 6, 10, 15 are inconsistent with the Constitution and that the acts of AG and UNRA to apply for orders to deposit compensation sums for land compulsorily acquired is in contravention of the Constitution.
“The acts of Court of law ordering or declaring that payment for compulsory acquisition of land be made into Court in such conditions as thinks appropriate and allowing the respondents or their agents to take possession of the property before payment of a fair and adequate compensation is inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 26, 21, 22 and 28 of the Constitution,” reads the Court documents.
They want Court to expunge sections 6, 10 and 15 of the Land Acquisition Act for being inconsistent with the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Court has summoned the AG and UNRA to respond to the assertions against them.
“You are hereby required to file an answer within seven days after the petition has been served on you. Should you fail to file the answer before the date mentioned date, the petitioner may proceed with the petition which may be determined in your absence,” reads the court documents.