11 December 2012

Uganda: Govt Sued Over Sh20 Billion Debt From Past Regimes

Government has been dragged to court by a company, demanding $7.7m (about sh20b) debt that arose from past regimes between 1978 and 1980, accrued from supply of furniture, and other assorted equipment plus items.

Former presidents Idi Amin, Yusuf Lule, Godfrey Binaisa, and Milton Obote were at the helm in the period between 1978 and 1980. The case was filed on December 7 at the High Court in Kampala by Victoria Repairs East Africa Limited.

Through Birungyi,Barata Associates,Advocates, Legal and Tax Consultants, the company claims Government has failed to pay the money despite agreeing to do so.

The Attorney General (AG) is listed as the defendant. Court documents show that last year on April 14, an agreement was signed with the then AG Prof Kiddu Makubuya, assuring the company that the debt would be settled. But the company says Government has since failed to pay, causing inconvenience.

"Government has not performed the said agreement and has not fulfilled its obligation to pay the plaintiff's outstanding amount which continues to attract interest. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer loss and damage," the plaint states.

Additionally, the company asserts that its lawyers sent the AG a statutory notice of intention to sue but it was ignored. It wants court to compel Government to meet its undertakings as per the April 14, 2011 agreement. The company also wants court to order Government to pay the money with interest from the date of signing the agreement until full payment.

Court has asked the current AG Peter Nyombi to file his defence within 15 days. In the summons dated December 10, 2012, signed by the court's civil division registrar Eudes Keitirima, the AG has been cautioned to heed, lest judgement is passed without his response.

The case file has been allocated to Justice Eldad Mwangusya. Hovever, a hearing date is yet to be fixed.

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