Mbabazi Lawyer Fails to Block Sh13 Billion Review

Upcoming lawyer Severino Twinobusingye on Wednesday lost his bid to block a review of the Shs 13bn awarded to him by court two years ago.

In February 2013, it came to light that the registrar of the Constitutional court, Elias Kisawuzi, had awarded Shs 13bn to Twinobusingye, after he successfully challenged Parliament’s power to force the then prime minister, Amama Mbabazi, and two ministers, to “step aside” over bribery allegations.

Having failed to file a reference to review the award within the stipulated seven days, Attorney General Peter Nyombi asked the Court of Appeal to allow him file out of time. Accordingly, sitting as the single judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice Augustine Nshimye allowed the attorney general to file his appeal out of time.

Nshimye reasoned that the case involved huge sums of money to be charged from the taxpayers, hence it had to be reviewed. But Twinobusingye appealed the ruling to the three justices of the Court of Appeal, saying that Nshimye had relied on sentiments to allow the review of the award.

Twinobusingye’s lawyer, John Mary Mugisha, argued in court that Nshimye had arrived at a wrong conclusion since he didn’t properly evaluate all the evidence on record. He contended that Kisawuzi should have been cross-examined to ascertain if, indeed, the attorney general was not served with the taxation ruling.

Senior State Attorney Gerald Kalemera asked the judges to uphold Nshimye’s ruling, saying the attorney general needed to have a say in the taxation award since it involved colossal sums of money.

“Having not been served the ruling notice having not been made aware (of the ruling) until February 19 2013, the respondent [attorney general] was not guilty of failing to file in time. We pray we are given an opportunity to challenge this award before you.”Kalemera said.

In a unanimous ruling, justices Faith Mwondah, Solomy Balungi Bossa and Kenneth Kakuru threw out Twinobusingye’s application, saying that it lacked merit. Kakuru, who read the ruling, said that they had no reason to go against Nshimye’s ruling since it was well reasoned.

“This court has the powers to extend time [of filing] if it deems it fit. Even if the time stated has elapsed, this court can order an applicant to file out of time such that justice is served,”Kakuru said before dismissing the application with costs.

In a recent interview with The Observer, Twinobusingye said he would fight the AG’s effort up to the Supreme court, warning that in the end, government would have to pay his reward with interest.

Source : The Observer

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