Lawyer detained for over 48 hours awarded Shs300m

Sunday November 11 2018

Awarded. The lawyer, Mr John Kaggwa. Monitor PHOTO

The High Court in Kampala has directed the government to pay a lawyer Shs300m plus costs of the suit after the court found that he was illegally detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours, among other things.
Judge Andrew Bashaija, the head of the High Court Civil Division, ruled on June 9 that the action of the police in that regard was not only illegal but unconstitutional.
Court also found that the bank account of Mr John Kaggwa in Diamond Trust Bank was wrongly blocked, which contravened his constitutional right to a fair hearing, privacy and to practice his profession. Mr Kaggwa runs Kaggwa & Kaggwa Advocates.
The judge ruled further, in favour of Mr Kaggwa, that an order to search his home and office without a court order contravened his right to privacy and fair hearing and also declared as illegal a decision by a police officer to decline to hand over Mr Kaggwa’s passport despite a court order.
In 2016, Mr Kaggwa jointly sued Mr William Wilber Kototyo, a police detective, officer and the Attorney General.
“The plaintiff [Kaggwa] herein is awarded general damages of Shs100,000,000 against the defendants [Attorney General and Kototyo] jointly and severally owing to the fact that the 1st defendant is a CID officer working under the Uganda Police Force and his actions bind the force,” Judge Bashaija ruled.
“The plaintiff is awarded aggravated damages of Shs200,000,000 owing to the highhandedness, arrogance, and contempt of court orders and impunity exhibited by the 1st defendant [Kotyotyo] while in course of his duties and an agent and servant of the 2nd defendant [govt/Attorney General] and the fact that the contempt continues to date,” he added.
Court said the amount of general and aggravated damages shall attract interest at 10 per cent per annum from the date the suit was filed until payment in full.
In May 2016, a company, UA Group Ltd, that had contracted Mr Kaggwa’s firm to do work for them in reported a case to the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters against him. They alleged that he had obtained Shs226m and US$152,700 or Shs572m respectively by false pretences.
On June 14, 2016, Mr Kaggwa reported to the CID Headquarters to answer to the allegations.
He told detectives that AU Group had instructed his firm to purchase on their behalf three pieces of land comprised in Kyaggwe Block 278, Plots 31, 33 and 44 at to compensate the squatters on the same.
He explained to the detectives that he had received the said money on his law firm clients’ account and purchased the land and compensated the squatters and that the allegations against him were false. Court records show that he provided copies of sale agreements and certificates of title for the plots of land to the police.
Instead, Mr Kaggwa was detained at Jinja Road Police Station and his requests to be released fell on deaf ears despite the mandatory 48 hours elapsing. It was during this time that his home and office were searched. Mr Kaggwa was only released, three days later, on June 17 after the intervention Juma Seiko.
Court found that the actions of the police amounted to “malice, callousness, arrogance, oppressiveness, impunity and arbitrary actions; all of which were unconstitutional”.
“The 1st defendant’s [Kototyo] refusal to comply with the said court order was simply contempt of court and the process of judicial administration as a whole. It also happens that this wanton contemptuous behavior of the 1st defendant still persists by his refusal to pay a fine of Shs6m that was imposed on him by court up to date,” the judge ruled.