IGG halts Shs5b government pay to law company

Kampala

Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja has terminated the contract between Kampala Associated Aocates (KAA) and the government that involved a multi-billion compensation case in London involving President Museveni and a former newspaper publisher.

Dr Jesse Mashate sued the President in London, claiming the latter had breached a gentleman’s agreement to compensate him for his newspaper which the government had closed down in 1986. Dr Mashate wanted the President to pay £57m (about Shs232.6b) including accumulated interest from 2010 as compensation.

Although the case was later dismissed, Ms Mulyagonja said the money being demanded by KAA who were part of the case as legal fees, is excessive.

In the report released on Monday, the IGG said KAA unnecessarily portrayed a situation of urgency to both the President in order to secure the award of the contract. “The fees claimed by KAA who were brought on board in a supportive role were grossly excessive especially given that they were seven times higher than fees claimed by Edwin Coe LLP who were the lead lawyers in defending the case in the UK,” reads the report.

The IGG has directed the Attorney General to stop all dealings with the law firm, saying the services were secured contrary to the law.

However, KAA lawyers yesterday challenged the report, describing it as grossly flawed, because all evidence used to win the London case was gathered and compiled in Uganda by KAA. “We will challenge it in court. The IGG cannot nullify a contract signed by the AG whose contracts are binding on government agencies. The IGG cannot aise the AG on a contract and its validity. It is the other way round,” said Mr Joseph Matsiko, a partner at KAA.

Addressing journalists in Kampala, Mr Matsiko said: “Ordinarily, Ugandan law as interpreted by the Court of Appeal entitles lawyers to 8 to 10 per cent of the value of the subject matter, but we charged 2 per cent,” said Mr Matsiko.

The lawyers insisted that the report accusing them is not premised on evidence.
“Procurement of legal services cannot be under PPDA rule as alleged but rather under the Constitution and Government Proceedings Act because the rules strictly prohibit competition because lawyers’ fees are already set by law.”

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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