Since its inception, in 2006, Tirupati Group Limited managed to invest billions of dollars in the construction business in Uganda putting up residential apartments, warehouses, office blocks, arcades and hostels, the first, Kamwokya House coming in 2008. Tirupati Group Limited is run by businessman Mr Harshad Barot.
Already with an indomitable reputation as a real estate developer in India, Tirupati Group Limited has incredibly changed the skyline of Kampala City, Uganda’s capital with state-of-the-art architectural designs.
With Kampala vision and plans well laid out, Tirupati Group Limited planned to expand from the capital to other major towns in the country; Jinja was first targeted and the ever business-savvy Mr. Barot made a move to acquire land in the town which is the home of the great and iconic River Nile.
Mr Barot, through his subsidiary Tirupati Development (U) Limited, was subleased a prime piece of land by Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) the leaseholder from Jinja District Land Board (JDLB) in 2006. According to details contained in a court ruling, Jinja Municipal Council had secured a 25-year-old lease from Jinja District Land Board in 2001.
With a town eager to grow and develop its people, Jinja Municipal Council sought investors to develop the land on LRV 3852 Folio 22, Plot 24 Kyabazinga Way, Nalufenya, Jinja Municipality, Jinja District.
This gave way for Tirupati Development (U) Limited to acquire the above land for a sublease of 18 years, 8 months, and 25 days. But in 2016 while Tirupati Development was finalizing plans to develop the prime land, Jinja District Land Board canceled the lease it had given to Jinja Municipal Council and handed the land to Yahaya Kisakye and Ashraf Buyinza.
Jinja Municipal Council protested to the Commissioner Land Registration and on 12th October 2018, the registrar amended the register and canceled the freehold title created in favor of Kisakye and Buyinza and reinstated Jinja Municipal Council leasehold title and Tirupati sublease.
Tirupati planned to set up ‘one of the biggest modern multi-billion shopping malls that would be the first of its kind outside Kampala’ but disturbance as such from Jinja District Land Board haven’t enabled them achieve this as more distraction from the land would come more fiercely.
The Jinja District Land Board would in 2018 hand the same contested businessman Mr Thummer Jay Mangalal Patel on 8th October 2018 and on 02nd August 2019, Mr Jay Patel was granted a freehold title vide instrument number JA-00019041 at 10:05 am.
The continued disruptions from the land board irked Tirupati who ran to court and filed a civil suit in the High Court in Jinja. In the Jinja High Court, hearing of civil suit No. 081 of 2019 commenced; and eventually, a ruling was delivered in August 2021.
In a judgment High Court Judge Jean Rwakakooko ruled that the suit land (LRV 3852 Folio 22, Plot 24 Kyabazinga Way, Nalufenya) belongs to Tirupati Development (Uganda) Limited by virtue of the sublease, it obtained from Jinja Municipal Council.
In her ruling, Justice Rwakakooko determined that the land board’s re-entry that gave Mr Jay Patel ownership of the suit land was not proper and that the said meeting minute offering the freehold to Mr Jay Patel was inserted fraudulently.
She said that Mr Jay Patel failed to explain to satisfaction of the court how he came to be offered this land.
The judge ordered that the suit land belongs to Tirupati Development (U) Limited as a sub-lease and that Mr Jay Patel’s freehold title comprised in FRV JJA 478 Folio 1 Plot 24b Kyabazinga Way, Jinja Municipality, Jinja District was fraudulently and illegally obtained.
She upheld orders of the Commissioner Land Registration dated 11th March 2020 including cancellation of Mr Jay Patel freehold from register book, reinstatement of sub-lease between Tirupati development (U) Limited and Jinja Municipal Council for 18 years, 8 months, and 25 days with effect from 1st March 2008.
Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko, who confirmed that the registrar of titles issues a sub-lease title to Tirupati, awarded general damages of Shs10, 000,000 (Uganda Shillings Ten Million Only) and costs of the suits.