Government, MPs protest Shs13b court award to lawyer
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 02:00
Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi tells MPs the sum was “astronomical and ridiculous” and is planning to appeal.
The government and Parliament yesterday protested the Shs12.9 billion court award given by the Constitutional Court to a city lawyer, Mr Severino Twinobusingye, as costs.
Deputy Attorney General Fred Ruhindi told MPs that the sum was “astronomical and ridiculous” and his office had started working on an appeal over the matter. “I first came across the figure in the media, we are appealing the decision because I have never seen [anything like it] in Uganda, in the East African region and in Africa,” Mr Ruhindi said.
Mr Ruhindi also promised his department would punish any judicial officers who could have connived with the petitioner. Yesterday’s expression of outrage is the latest in the sequence of events that have followed the October 2011 special Parliamentary debate on the oil sector where bribery allegations were made against three senior ministers, Sam Kuteesa, Amama Mbabazi and Hillary Onek.
Describing himself as a concerned citizen, Mr Twinobusingye went to court to block Parliament’s investigations into the matter. He also wanted a court order nullifying the resolution asking the ministers to step aside during the investigations.
The court ruling
Months later, court on February 18, made public a December 24, 2012 ruling which has since sparked public outrage, ordering that the government pays Shs12.9 billion to Mr Twinobusingye as costs.
His lawyers had argued that the ministers were not given a fair hearing. Parliament, however, insists that the three accused ministers were given a fair hearing.
Mr Ruhindi yesterday assured the country that no money would be paid out “until the appeal is heard and determined.” The petitioner was also accused by Aruu MP Odonga Otto of acting on behalf of Mr Mbabazi. “We shall one day bring here a motion to debate the conduct of the PM,” he said.
Parliament resolved that, among others, an ad hoc committee be formed to investigate the oil sector. Mr Twinobusingye was recently appointed RDC in Kabale but the residents of Kabale rejected his entry, citing local politics.