5 July 2012

Uganda: Nina Mbabazi Arrest Warrant Extended

Premier Amama Mbabazi's daughter, Lenina Kemigisha Mbabazi, who faces the prospect of being jailed for failing to pay a Shs 164.6m debt, has got some relief after her arrest warrant was extended till August 29.

Kemigisha purchased motorcycles worth Shs 627.9m from Jincheng International Trading Limited (JITL), a Kampala-based Chinese company, in 2009, but remained with a debt of Shs 233.6m. She paid Shs 69m, after allegedly entering a consent judgment to clear the debt in instalments. But a warrant of arrest has since been issued after she failed to pay the balance of Shs 164.6m. She has since denied entering a consent judgment with the Chinese firm.

Her lawyers, Mugisha and Company Advocates, have filed an application in the Commercial court, praying that execution of the warrant of arrest be set aside because of poor health of their client and her four-month-old son. When Kemigisha's application came up for hearing on Wednesday, her new lawyer John Mary Mugisha, assisted by Severino Twinobusingye, told Justice Kiryabwire that they needed more time to study JITL's reply.

Whereas Tao and his lawyers, Chrysostom Katumba and Abdallah Kiwanuka, were in court, Kemigisha did not show up.

"My Lord, our client is [on] bed rest because she is not feeling well. We pray for an adjournment to prepare a reply because we were served yesterday evening," Mugisha submitted, adding, "However, we wish to add that the allegations by Tao in the reply raises serious allegations which need rebuttal to the effect that our client can't be reached because of the security detail around her and that she has a briefcase company".

However, before granting an adjournment to August 29, 2012, Justice Kiryabwire ordered Counsel Henry Kyarimpa, who argued the disputed consent judgment where Kemigisha is alleged to have pledged to repay the debt in installments, to physically appear in court.

"We may have to engage Kyarimpa as well because he is counsel on record in the matter. These are serious allegations against him," the judge said before agreeing to avail the consent judgment proceedings to both parties.

Counsel Katumba did not oppose Mugisha's application to extend the warrant of arrest against Kemigisha until the application is heard. "We undertake not to execute the arrest warrant until that time," Katumba told court.

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