High court has delivered its ruling on the land wrangle involving Soroti University and the squatters. In the ruling delivered on Friday 10th March, 2023 at the high court in Soroti, His lordship Hon. Dr. Justice Henry Peter Adonyo ruled in favour of Soroti University dismissing the case with costs. He also declared the land as rightly belonging to Soroti University.
The squatters who had in 2015 dragged Soroti University to court claiming that part of the land in which Soroti University is situated on plot 51 was their customary land inherited from their parents and grandparents.
Erimu and team claimed they owned the land by way of inheritance, and that the land had never been surveyed. The matter was referred to the High Court where parties consented to have the boundaries of Plot 50 & 51 opened.
The parties had also consented that if it was established that the land was surveyed and that they were within the boundary of the surveyed land, they would vacate the land.
The District Surveyor was engaged to open the boundary and the report clearly showed that the land was surveyed and most of squatters were on plot 50 as per the old cartridge map where Plot 50 was curved from Block 7 belonging to Teso College Aloet.
The squatters were accordingly evicted from Plot 50. The issue remained with Plot 51 that was given to Teso College of Higher Education (TECHE) by the District land Board. This piece of Land was surveyed in 1996 and there was a contestation that it was fraudulently surveyed and title obtained.
However, they maintained that plot 51 was customary land and they sued Soroti University claiming the University acquired the land title fraudulently. TECHE first gave the land to Pilgrim, a local NGO that wanted to establish Teso University. When government established Soroti University in 2013, the land title was then handed over to Soroti University.
The land comprising of plot 50 and 51 had the squatters. These were mostly families of those who worked as cooks in Teso College Aloet, others bought land from fraudsters with the hope of establishing hostels when they had that the university was going to be built, others settled there during and after the insurgency in Teso.
The Court looked at the ingredients of fraud and ruled that the opposite party did not prove fraud by Soroti University and dismissed the case with Costs. The squatters that include Twaha Abdul, Abdul Rahani, and Ojakal Alfed, Ojuru, Adolu James and others are to be evicted from the remaining 44 hectares of land they claimed.