The High Court in Masindi District has ordered Kinyara Sugar Works Ltd to pay Shs10 million to an outgrower as compensation for losing sugarcane.
Mr Mahmood Kazimbiraine, a sugarcane outgrower in Bigaju-Kabalye Cell in Karujubu Division, Masindi Municipality, lost 8.6 hectares of sugarcane to a fire on January 18, 2009.
However, Kinyara refused to transport it for milling after they had harvested it, forcing him to sue the company.
Mr John Paul Baingana, Mr Kazimbiraine’s lawyer, told court on Monday that after his client’s cane was burnt, he frequently went to the firm asking the management to pick it up.
But after three weeks, the firm informed him that his cane was immature at nine months and had also dried up, therefore unfit for milling.
Mr Baingana claimed Kinyara deliberately refused to take the cane because the official told him that they were ferrying sugarcane from nuclear estate owned by Kinyara, which was burnt at the same time.
However, defence lawyer Daniel Kasuti argued that there was no contract between Kinyara and the outgrower to purchase immature and burnt cane, adding that Mr Kazimbiraine’s cane was also stale.
However, the Masindi High Court judge, Justice Simon Byabakama, said Kinyara officials collected the sugarcane although it was burnt.
He said from the time Mr Kazimbiraine’s sugarcane was burnt, the company never told him that his cane was immature and not fit for milling.
“The cane was in a deliverable state at the time it was harvested and there is no evidence to show that the defendants would not purchase the burnt cane,” Justice Byabakama ruled.
He, however, said the plaintiff did not explain how he arrived at Shs58.3m he wanted as compensation thus awarding him Shs10m.
Mr Kazimbiraine, whose lawyer was not in court at the time of the ruling, said he was satisfied with the judgment. “Even if court has not given me the whole figure I asked for, at least it has given me something,” he said. Mr Kasuti said he would read the ruling before he aises his client on the next course of action.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor