Soroti catholic church, clan leaders take land battle to Court of Appeal

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Soroti catholic church, clan leaders take land battle to Court of Appeal
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The Imoratok clan in Teso sub region has taken its battle with the Catholic church in Soroti to the Court of Appeal after expressing dissatisfaction with the judgement of the High Court.

High Court’s justice Peter Adonyo in a 2022 judgement through out a case filed by six  clan members including Mark Aleu, Richard Egaru, Thomas Odongo, Vincent Eculu, Alex Anoku and Joseph Ekeu against Amuria district Land Board, Fr.Joseph Ipurale Ocom and Soroti Catholic Diocese over a piece of land in the area.

Court documents show that in 1944, the late Honorat Etengu  allowed the Catholic Church to establish a church and later a health centre and primary school  on 30 acres of customary land .

It is said that around 2009 an 2010,  Soroti Catholic Church allegedly encroached on the land of Imoratok clan by extending to another 57 acres for the benefit of a non-existent St.Peters Canisius Church without the consent of the clan.

They sued the Catholic church.

The  High Court ruled in the favour of the church.

However, in their appeal, the clan leaders represented by Omongole and Company Advocates  say the judge erred in his judgement when he failed to go to the ground to determine where the original land donated to the church starts and where it ends.

“The learned trial judge erred in law and fact when he failed to take into consideration the contradictions and irrelevancies in the evidence of the defendants,” the appeal says.

The clan leaders also say Justice Adonyo erred when he held that they had failed to lead evidence to prove their ownership of the land, noting that it was also wrong for the judge to rule that the said land was a totally voluntary gift without ascertaining the exact size of the said land.

“The learned trial judge erred in law and fact in holding that the survey and demarcation were done lawfully since the neighbours were consulted whereas not. "

"The learned trial judge erred in law and fact in holding that the plaintiffs in bringing their suit, intended to use the judicial system to grab land belonging to the third defendant( Soroti catholic diocese) on a false and bogus claim."

The clan leaders are also faulting the High Court for ignoring the legal status of the Soroti Catholic  thus occasioning miscarriage of justice as well as well as wrongly dismissing the case with costs on grounds that it was legally untenable.

They also say it was wrong for court t to rule that they were not the rightful owners of the said land and decreed it to Soroti Catholic diocese.

They want the Court of Appeal to overturn the judgement of the High Court.


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