National Forestry Authority wins forest reserves dispute court case
Written by Derrick Asaba on December 16, 2021
The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has won the land dispute over the 106 hectares of Budunda and 117 hectares of Bugaali Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) in Namutumba district.
This came after Justice Immaculate Busingye of the Land Division issued her judgment that the plaintiffs acquired their leasehold interest in the suit land illegally.
“Following this judgment, the National Forestry Authority will immediately commence reafforestation programs to enable Budunda and Bugaali central forest reserves to serve their ecological functions which include protecting River Mpologoma from silting as it flows to join Lake Kyoga. The river is the main source of water for domestic use and economic activities to the surrounding local communities,” the NFA Management said in a Press statement.
In 2004, the plaintiffs Lucy Ochieng, Grace Ochieng, Fred Ochieng and Ojore Tom Ochieng sued NFA and Attorney General claiming that they are the registered proprietors of the suit land in the leasehold Register Volume 1093 Folio 24.
The plaintiff had fraudulently acquired a lease on 1/7/1980 measuring approximately 205 hectares on the said forest reserves.
Justice Busingye dismissed the plaintiffs suit with costs to the defendants and the following declarations and orders were made.
Among other orders, the plaintiffs were directed to handover the owner’s copy of the certificate of title in respect of LRV 1093, Folio 24 at Budomero, Bulange, Busiki, Iganga district to the Commissioner Land Registration for cancellation within 14 days from date of judgment.
The plaintiffs shall pay the defendants costs in respect of this suit and remove from the suit land any livestock, buildings or enclosures which may have been erected and any crops which may have been planted in the suit land within one month from the date of the judgment.
Budunda and Bugaali CFRs were gazetted in 1965 as local forest reserves under Statutory Instrument (SI) No.186 of 1965 and regazetted in 1968 as Central Forest Reserves under Statutory Instrument No.176 of 1968 and maintained as Central Forest Reserves by the Forest Reserves (Declaration) Order Statutory Instrument No.63 of 1998.