Multiplex wins parking case

A Multiplex agent issues a street parking receipt to a motorist on Kampala Road yesterday. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA.

What you need to know:

While dismissing the suit on Tuesday, Justice Elizabeth Musoke noted that Multiplex Limited was wrongly sued since it is just acting as an agent of the principal, KCCA.

KAMPALA

Multiplex Limited, the managers of street parking in Kampala, can continue collecting parking fees from Ugandans, following a court ruling on Tuesday that threw out a suit challenging the legality of parking fees.

The street parking managers had been sued by a regional consultancy firm, Legal Brains Trust (LBT) and a concerned citizen, Mr Richard Nyakaana. Through a representative suit for all motorists in the country, they claimed KCCA and its predecessors (KCC) were illegally collecting parking fees since they had never designated the roads and streets identified as parking places in the city.

This, they said was contravening the motor vehicle regulations. They had further claimed that car parking fees, parking fines and clamping fees are unlawful and an infringement on motorists’ right to property, hence they sought court to order that they were entitled to a refund of the revenue collected by Multiplex since 2003 when they commenced operations.

Court ruling
The judge in her ruling read out by the court’s division registrar, Mr Eudes Keitirima, advised LBT to instead sue KCCA if they wished so. “It is therefore apparent that whatever the agent (Multiplex) did or continues to do in relation to street parking, it does so as the appointed agent of KCCA. The principal in the case has not stated that the agent acted outside the authority granted by the principal,” ruled the judge.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, the executive director of LBT, Mr Isaac Kimaze, said they would appeal against the ruling on grounds that the judge had missed a point. “We are taking legal advice on the ruling and possible appeal. We respect the ruling but disagree on the principle of the judge’s view,” said Mr Kimaze, adding, “Being a representative of a government body (KCCA), does give blanket immunity when you are called in a suit for accountability.”

The judge’s ruling was prompted by preliminary objection raised by Multiplex’s lawyer Andrew Kibaya, who on October 10, submitted that the suit was defective on grounds that it was wrongly sued. Mr Kibaya in a telephone interview with this newspaper yesterday, concurred with the judge’s ruling.

Mr Kibaya said by lodging a representative suit on behalf of every motorist in Uganda without their instructions, LBT, bungled. Multiplex Limited collects Shs400 per hour for every car parked on Kampala streets.

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