The Attorney General, Peter Nyombi, has defended his legal opinion not to approve sh11b payment to former employees of the defunct Coffee Marketing Board (CMB), saying it would be inappropriate since the matter is still in court waiting judgment.
He addressed journalists shortly after appearing before the parliamentary committee on legal and parliamentary affairs at the close of the week.
Nyombi appeared before the committee to explain whether there was any legal basis for him to reverse his earlier opinion to pay the former workers.
He maintained that the matter should be allowed to be logically concluded by court.
Over 264 CMB employees who were retrenched between 1991 and 1998 petitioned the Court of Appeal last year demanding sh1.3b while their colleagues, totaling to 1568, petitioned parliament seeking their terminal benefits worth over sh10b.
"It is true I had offered my legal opinion to the effect that the official receiver withdraws the suit pending in court and we start negotiations of payment," Nyombi acknowledged at first.
He, however, went on: "But I was advised later by the then acting Solicitor General and officials from the ministry of finance and privatization unit that the matter was still in court at an advanced stage, only waiting judgment and should be allowed to be logically concluded in the best interest of justice.
The Attorney General he exercised his functions as contained in Article 119 to review his earlier opinion and would render the appropriate advice after judgment has been passed.
"Accordingly, in the greater public interest and in the best interest of justice, I reviewed my earlier opinion to the official receiver.
"It is trite law that review is open to a person only where there has been a discovery of new and/or important matters of evidence, mistake or error apparent on the face of the record," he emphasized.