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    Justice Adonyo Erred In Tycoon Kiggundu, DTB Bank’s Shs120bn Case – Court Of Appeal Declares, Orders Fresh Hearing By Different Judge…

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    Ham Kiggundu had taken DTB to court alleging that it had made illegal withdrawals from his account amounting to billions of shillings.

    The Court of Appeal has today rescinded an earlier ruling by the commercial court which had directed Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and DTB Kenya to refund at least Shs 120 billion to businessman Hamis Kiggundu.

    Kiggundu had taken DTB to court alleging that it had made illegal withdrawals from his account amounting to billions of shillings.

    Three Justices led by Justice Richard Buteera- the Deputy Chief Justice have declared that Justice Henry Peter Adonyo erred when he dismissed Shs120bn Commercial case in favor of City tycoon Hamis Kiggundu- the proprietor of Ham Enterprises Limited against Diamond Trust Bank Limited.

    In his led Judgement, Justice Buteera agrees with Justice Christopher Madrama and justice Kenneth Kakuru that former Commercial Court Judge Adonyo erred to struck out the respondent’s joint written statement of defense and entered Judgement for the plaintiffs under Order 9 Rules 6, 8, 10 and 30 and Orders 52 Rules 1, 2 and 3 Civil procedures Rules.

    “In the instant case, this was not a claim for liquidated sum and this fact is brought out by the trial Judge in his ruling of 30th September 2020 where the trial Judge directed the institution of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to appoint an independent auditor to carry out a full account reconciliation of the financial transactions which are based on the credit facilities between the plaintiffs and defendants to determine the amounts due inter partes be stayed pending hearing and determination of Misc. Application No 654 of 2020,” Justice Buteera stated.

    The Justices insist that it was an error made by the trial judge to struck out the written statements of the defense and enter a judgement for the plaintiffs under Order 9 Rule 6 of the CPR since their claims were not liquidated and the defendants had not failed to file a defense and the issue of failing to file defense never arose in the proceedings.

    The Justices further wondered how Judge Adonyo entered a interlocutory judgement under 0.9 Rule 8  without giving reasons that the defendants failed to file their defense in time and the trial Judge himself acknowledges in his Judgement that both parties files their submissions in time.

    The learned Justices pointed out that there is no law that makes it illegal for a Ugandan Citizen or a foreigner resident in Uganda to borrow or pay back money borrowed from a foreign institution, a Bank or any other organization unless the transaction involves the perpetuation of criminal offences such as terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking or any other offences.

    The Justices indicated that the only loan agreement tainted with perpetuation of an offence would not be enforced by a Ugandan Court.

    “A loan agreement with a foreigner or a foreign entity, weather the contract is executed in Uganda or outside Uganda would be enforced by a Ugandan Court in accordance with the terms of the agreement the parties, the laws of the respective countries in which the agreement is made and or is executed and international laws and obligation of mixed law and fact that be adjudicated upon,” Justice Kakuru stated.

    The Justices agreed that Justice Adonyo’s Judgement be set a side and the respondents have been ordered to bear the costs of the Appeal.

    They ordered that the said suit be taken back to the High Court Commercial Division and be expeditiously fixed and heard by another Judge. They also ordered that the proceedings shall commence on the pleadings before the High Court before the amended plaint and written statements of Defense which have been struck off.

    Tycoon Kiggundu run to the High Court Commercial Division challenging DTB Uganda to collect his money from his bank Account when he did not borrow money from them rather borrow from DTB Kenya. The trial Judge agrees with him that DTB Uganda did not have the powers to withdraw his money because they did not lend the applicant and DTB Kenya did not have the license to carry out any business transaction in Uganda.

    The judge dismissed the entire case without hearing the merit of the case with costs and directed the defendants to pay Shs120bn with 8% interest, Costs of the matter and return all the applicant’s land titles which the bank confiscated. It should also be remembered that Ham petitioned the Constitutional court challenging the constitutionality of Regulation 13 of the Mortgage act, that requires Bank Customers to first deposit 30% of the disputed amount in the filled case before the hearing can proceed.

    However, Kiggundu through his lawyer Fred Muwema noted that they are going to appeal to the Supreme Court challenging Court of Appeal’s decision claiming that it was a biased decision and they were compromised.

    By Joel K Wansaale

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    City Bussinesswoman Charged Over Forging Trade Marks…

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    Evelyn Kunahimbire (L) and lawyer Fred Muwema (R)

    Evelyn Kunahimbire, a city businesswoman dealing in Agro-Chemicals has been charged for allegedly counterfeiting a trade mark to sell substandard products.

    Kunahimbire, 35, a resident of Matugga was arraigned before the Magistrates Court at Buganda Road and denied the three offences of forging trade mark, selling of goods with false marks and false applying of a registered trade mark.

    The presiding Grade One magistrate, Marion Mangeni ordered for the release of Kunehimbire on a cash bail of one million shillings upon an application.

    The magistrate said, “I have considered the bail application on the facts that the accused is a breastfeeding mother and she has also presented substantial sureties.”

    The court adjourned the case to September 20 for mention after the state submitted that investigations are still ongoing.

    Kunehimbire was arrested during an operation carried out by the Anti-Counterfeit Network Africa (ACN) in partnership with Bukoola Chemical Industries Ltd (BCIL) to crackdown on the illicit trade.

    The operation is part of the campaign which entailed a 90 days’ communication strategy to create awareness of the genuine agro-products on the market, an enforcement action against counterfeit perpetrators involved in the illicit trade is aimed at combating counterfeiting Bukoola products on the market, and boosting consumption of genuine inputs.

    Fred Muwema, the legal director for Anti-Counterfeit Network said that presenting Ms. Kunehimbire in court is a follow up of the legal action and follow up on the raid that was carried out to apprehend counterfeiters of Bukoola Chemical Industries Ltd Products like pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

    “They are chemicals used to eliminate various crop diseases and pests. But in violation of registered trade mark rights the counterfeiters have been duplicating their products and selling them at massive profits with no value to farmers,” he said.

    Mr Muwema cautioned farmers to be vigilant against supply of fake agro-inputs adding that genuine chemicals can only be accessed from gazetted distribution points across the country.

    “We are continuing with the operations with the Police to apprehend other counterfeiters still in the market who are endangering public health and safety. We advise farmers and other consumers to look out for genuine products and avoid being caught in the web of organized crime perpetrated by counterfeiters,” Mr. Muwema said, adding that anybody involved in the buying and selling of counterfeits commits an offence.

    The Uganda Agriculture sector which contributes up to 30% of the total GDP, over 70% of Uganda’s exports, and engages up to 70% of the country’s working population is considered as one of the priority sectors for future economic growth and economic inclusion by the Uganda National Development Plan.

    Despite the good National Development Plan, the sector growth rate of 2% is way below the average NDP growth of 6%. This low performance in the Agriculture sector has been partly blamed on the increasing supply of counterfeits and substandard agro-inputs which have negatively affected the agricultural sector and the economy at large.

    It is estimated that farmers in Uganda lose up to USD 7M to fake seeds alone, USD18M on fake herbicides, and USD 2M on fake fertilizers annually. It is estimated that the prevalence of counterfeit farm in-puts on the market is well over 50% hence a compelling explanation for loss of trust by farmers, and low adoption of agricultural technologies in the Ugandan context which is less than 20%.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    We Want To Pick Money From Our Shops To Survive: City Traders Plead With M7 To Ease COVID-19 Lockdown…

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    KASITA spokesperson Haji Isa Ssekitto

    City traders have pleaded with president Yoweri Museveni to easy the COVID-19 lockdown so that they can open their shops and pick their money and other valuables they left inside.

    In a chat with theGrapevine, the spokesperson of Kampala City Traders Association (KASITA), Haji Isa Ssekitto revealed that many of their members are going die of stress before COVID-19 kills them.

    “The lockdown caught many of us by surprise and some of our members were not prepared. They left their money in shops and surprisingly when the president declared a nationwide lockdown, they were never given a chance to prepare themselves,” Ssekitto said.

    Ssekitto explained that some of their members want to pick their money from their shops to pay their landlords the months they have been in their buildings and relocate and also pay the landlords where they sleep.

    He insisted that other traders want to start selling their goods online.

    He added that traders fear that their landlords may confiscate their goods like it was in the previous lockdown and charge them rent arears of months they have spent without working.

    However, Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Luke Owesigire has warned that as security, they are not going to allow any person to access shops which were closed by the president.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    Don’t Sign On That NHIS Bill, It Will Scare Away Investors – Minister Aceng Tells M7…

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    Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (L) has advised President Yoweri Museveni (R) against signing on the NHIS bill into a law

    The Cabinet Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng has advised President Yoweri Museveni against signing on the recently passed contentious National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) bill by the Parliament.

    The NHIS bill seeks to provide universal healthcare to all Ugandans. It sounds very impressive, bit how it is planned to be executed is what raises alarm for some ‘concerned’ people.

    Dr Aceng has confirmed to theGrapevine that she has indeed written to the president, requesting him to desist from signing on the bill into law, citing that it’s unfair to the public.

    “Ugandans are low payers and low earners, yet requested to pay for the needs of the people?” she noted with concern. She cited for instance health workers who have already been complaining about low salaries, and the negativity it would bring about to further suggest another 4% of the same.

    She insists that if the bill is signed by the president and turned into law, it will easily scare away the investors who would wish to invest their money in the country because they would now have to bear with spending alot on workers; from paying for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and other legal requirements.

    The passing of the same bill was however highly contested, and only came after members rejected Health State Minister in charge of general duties Robinah Nabanja’s motion to withdraw the Bill.

    Nabanja’s plea that the government wanted to withdraw the Bill pending more consultations was overpowered in Parliament.

    Even in 2006 when  government announced plans to introduce the NHIS where all Ugandan residents would be required to have a health insurance policy, many stakeholders criticised the plan claiming its another burden to employees.

    By Alirabaki Sengooba

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