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Budaka District Wants Private Lawyers to Handle Their Court Cases

Budaka district is struggling with a court order to reinstate and compensate two staff who were irregularly dismissed from service six years ago.

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Budaka district authorities have expressed loss of confidence in the Office of the Solicitor General because of consistent loss of court cases, which has plunged the district in a financial crisis. They now want government to allow them to hire private lawyers to handle their cases.

They accuse officers from the Solicitor General's office of among others misadvising and misrepresenting the district, incompetence and gross negligence of duty. According to them, officers at regional office in Mbale specifically, the Head of the region, Peter Masaba and another identified as Erick Lumbe always advise the district to taken on court cases even when they know they can’t win.  

Budaka district is struggling with a court order to reinstate and compensate two staff who were irregularly dismissed from service six years ago.  In 2013, the Budaka District Service Commission terminated the services of Patrick Namenkere, the then Budaka town council Treasurer and Constance Katooko, then Budaka District Principal Human Resource Officer.      

The duo was terminated on grounds of misconduct and causing financial loss to the district. They ran to court to challenge the procedures through, which they were terminated. Recently, High court pronounced itself on the matter and ordered the district to compensate the duo over Shillings 50Million, reinstate them to office and pay the salaries for the time they have been out of office and costs of the suite.

 

Sam Mulomi, the Budaka District LCV chairperson, says when they assumed office in 2016, they found the district grappling with court cases, mainly involving civil servants who were irregularly dismissed from office. He explains that the district council resolved to go for an out of court settlement but the Solicitor General’s office in Mbale insisted that he would win all the cases and declined to end the court process. 

He says that the district will have to cough over Shillings 500M in the recently concluded case, which would have been settled at only Shillings 20M.

 

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Mulomi now wants the solicitor General’s office to meet the costs awarded to the people who sued the district. He also wants district to be allowed to recruit private lawyers to avoid such messes.    

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Kefer Samuel Mubalya, the Budaka District Speaker, says there is a likely move by the Regional Solicitor General who sits in Mbale to continue dragging the district in court case with intentions of siphoning money from the already financially ailing district.   

 

  According to Mubalya, the district advised the Solicitor General to handle the case out of court since they knew they would lose the case but he insisted on going to court.  He said this is the third case Budaka district has lost even after resolving they be handled out of court.

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Abdul Karim Mulekwa, the Budaka town Council councilor and Chairperson of the committee that was assigned the duty of resolving cases out of court, says the complainants had agreed to compensation of Shillings 20 million but the Solicitor General’s office rejected the settlement.  

According to Mulekwa, the district has never won any court case, which points to incompetence of the officers from the Solicitor’s General’s office.  

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Frank Mwoya, the Kamonkoli Sub County councilor recalls a case where the Sub County was sued and the ruling made in the absence of their legal representative from the Solicitor General despite being facilitated.    

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Cue out:…of that money”//

  Juliet Topachio, a State attorney in the Solicitor General's office in Mbale, who handled one of the court cases, dismissed accusations of connivance leveled against them.

  "We have never connived with anyone because we represent the interest of government. Local administrative units are part of government, but as you know court is like a football match you go thinking you will win but eventually end up losing," she said.

 

Efforts to reach Peter Masaba, the Head of the region for a comment were futile since he could neither pick nor return our repeated calls.

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