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MPs query KCCA UGX 27Bn expenditure on legal costs

Kampala Capital City Authority

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises-COSASE has faulted Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA officials for spending Shillings 27 billion on legal fees in the 2016/2017 financial year.

According to the Committee, the Shillings 27 billion was above the Shillings 16.3 billion budgeted for the legal costs in the financial year in question. The approved budget for KCCA was Shillings 563.8 billion in that financial year. Shillings 280.8billion came from World Bank while Shillings 150. 3billion was from the central government and other revenue sources.

The expenditure on accumulated legal costs is one of the audit queries in the Auditor General’s report for the 2016/2017 financial year. The Auditor General noted that KCCA spent an extra Shillings 17.5 billion to cater for court judgments made in previous years.

KCCA disclosed contingent liabilities amounting to Shillings 57.7 billion, which the Auditor General noted “is an indication that legal costs are likely to escalate further” and that “delays to offset interest bearing judgments in a timely manner may lead to nugatory [recurring] expenditure resulting from accumulated interests.”

In response, the KCCA management said that during the 2016/2017 financial year, garnishee orders totaling Shillings 13.1 billion were issued against the KCCA revenue collection accounts.  Some of the 13 court cases cited in the document KCCA submitted to COSASE include Sundya Isibosis and Nafuna Annet, Equator Touring, Otada, Twegatte Ndeba, Joka Investments (U) Ltd and Monitor Publications (U) Ltd.

KCCA also lost to Sumadhura Technologies Ltd, Safinet (U)Ltd and Joyce A. Natabi Kaddu, Birungi, Barata and associates, Serunjogi and company advocates among others. The COSASE Committee vice chairperson, Ibrahim Kasozi informed MPs that KCCA has paid up to Shillings 43 billion in 82 court cases. He wondered why KCCA failed to pay its legal costs on time.

However, the Acting KCCA Legal Director, Caleb Mugisha told the committee that some of the cases were inherited from Kampala City Council (KCC), Kampala Land Board while some are from Kampala Capital City Authority.

He also noted that Sendege Ssenyondo & Co. Advocates that handled KCC cases from 1995 had an excess of 300 files by the time KCCA became operational.   To date, the law firm has submitted 204 of the case files to KCCA and is also demanding that the institution makes good since KCC didn’t pay legal fees for several years.

The Jinja East MP, Paul Mwiru told Mugisha that that has been the same response KCCA has given Public Accountability Committees for the past three years.

The COSASE chairperson, Mubarak Munyagwa and Mwiru directed KCCA officials led by the Acting Executive Director, Andrew Kitaka return to the committee with detailed reports on each of the cases detailing whether the judgment was delivered after trial or it was a consent judgment and the history of the cases.

Kampala District Land Board has also been invited to corroborate the information from KCCA regarding the court cases.

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