Tororo Archdiocese Priest and Business Owner Embroiled in Controversy Over Land Rights
A Catholic priest from the Tororo Archdiocese, Fr. Centurio Olaboro, is currently facing legal action in court over accusations of land grabbing, forgery, fraud, and criminal trespass.
The priest, Fr. Olaboro, has been issued a restraining order by the High Court in Tororo, along with the registered trustees of the Tororo archdiocese and the Commissioner of Land Registration, Johnson Bigirwa. The order prevents them from accessing, evicting, or interfering with the land occupied by the owners of freehold Vol.1180 Folio 21 Block 8 plot 470, located in Angorom, Angololo, and Amunuoit Villages, Busia District.
According to an interim order issued by Tororo Chief Magistrate Doreen Ajuna, the Commissioner of Land Registration, Johnson Bigirwa, had sent a threatening letter summoning several land title owners, including John Okware and Mzee David Ocheng Okolongo, for a public meeting aimed at cancelling their titles. This move was based on claims by Fr. Centurio Olaboro and the Tororo archdiocese trustees asserting ownership of the same land.
The land ownership dispute traces back to John Okware, the owner of Ridar Hotel in Seeta, Mukono. Okware states that he acquired the land in 2008 and expanded it in 2010 by purchasing additional land from eight families of customary landowners, benefiting over 57 beneficiaries. All occupants were compensated and vacated the land during these transactions, which were endorsed by local council chairpersons. He successfully acquired a freehold land title in 2017. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, encroachment occurred on his land, allegedly orchestrated by some individuals claiming permission from Fr. Olaboro.
Fr. Olaboro and Alfred George Obore were later arrested on charges of criminal trespass and released on bail. Fr. Olaboro took refuge in the land registration offices and sought the cancellation of over 15 land titles, claiming that the land belonged to the Tororo Catholic Archdiocese.
Legal action ensued, with Okware’s lawyer, Dominic Emiru, requesting the court to prevent Fr. Olaboro and his agents from interfering with Okware’s land. Despite being served with court summons, Fr. Olaboro reportedly evaded acknowledgment. The Tororo Chief Magistrate affirmed that Fr. Olaboro was properly served with court documents through an affidavit.
Following several unsuccessful attempts to have Fr. Olaboro appear in court, and after failed efforts to organize a public hearing on the matter, the court ordered parties to seek redress through legal channels. Fr. Olaboro maintains his claim as one of the registered trustees of the church, asserting that the land belongs to the Tororo Catholic Archdiocese.