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Law firm sues Kampala Archdiocese over UGX 920 million legal fees

FILE PHOTO: Archbishop, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | A law firm has dragged Kampala Archdiocese to court for alleged failure to pay shillings 920 million for collecting rent arrears worth shillings 17 billion.

According to documents before the High Court Civil Division, Kampala Archdiocese instructed Byenkya, Kihika and Company Advocates in 2018 to recover shillings 17 billion from the Finance Ministry being rent arrears for two pieces of land in Nsambya including the one hosting Nsambya police barracks.

In a sworn affidavit, Ebert Byenkya, a senior lawyer in the firm, says they received the instructions signed by the Archbishop, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga on November, 23rd 2018. According to Byenkya, Kampala Archdiocese promised to pay them 20 percent as professional fees for collecting the debt in question.

Byenkya states that the law firm recovered Shillings 9.6 billion from the Finance Ministry and transferred it into the accounts of Kampala Archdiocese on April 18th, 2019. He explains that they issued a formal demand note on June 30th 2019 for Shillings 920 million and attached their Advocate/Client Bill of costs requesting that they be paid within 30 days from the said date.

“We further stated that failure to pay the fees within the said period would result in us presenting the bill for taxation to the High Court”, reads the documents in part. The law firm now wants court to tax its Bill for the services it offered to the Archdiocese such that an appropriate fee is given to it in as far as the Advocates Act is concerned

According to the court documents seen by URN, during the recovery period, the Archbishop Lwanga instructed and retracted his instructions on various occasions, saying they had reconsidered their decision.

“We have therefore decided to reconsider our decision and we inform you that the instructions we had given you in regard to the above mentioned subject are hereby retracted with immediate effect. Please do not pursue the matter any further”, reads Lwanga’s December, 6th, 2018 letter to the law firm.

However Lwanga wrote again on December 17th, 2018, saying the previous instructions had been retracted in error. “The purpose of the letter therefore is to reconfirm our earlier appointment of November, 23rd, 2018 and ask you to proceed with the matter. The letter dated December, 6th, 2018 is hereby revoked”, it reads in part.

Court is yet to summon Kampala Archdiocese to file its defense before the matter is allocated to a judge.

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