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Court Orders Against Gov’t Pre-arranged- Speaker Kadaga

A garnishee order is a directive by court to allow creditors recover money from a debtor. The order can be carried out by taking money from the debtor’s bank account or from one’s salary.
15 Jan 2020 16:02
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga.

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The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga says that garnishee orders against government are pre-arranged to defraud public finances.

A garnishee order is a directive by court to allow creditors recover money from a debtor. The order can be carried out by taking money from the debtor’s bank account or from one’s salary.

“The garnishees are pre-arranged so that money can be got quickly. I know situations where people have organized cases, failed to defend them and then when execution comes, they tell them there is a new car there, you catch that one, there is something new here….and then they go and share proceeds,” said Kadaga in part.

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Kadaga was speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with officials from the Office of the Auditor-General who were presenting their audit report for the year ended December 2019. 

In the report, Auditor General John Muwanga noted that in the financial year 2018/2019, a total of Shillings 66.55 billion and USD 528,000 was attached by way of garnishee orders against government on 17 bank accounts.

He observed that government creditors are increasingly resorting to use garnishee orders against government accounts as a means of enforcement and this partly explains the absence of a clear and proper procedure and policy for the effective settlement of court.

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In April 2019, Accountant General Lawrence Ssemakula said the court awards had accumulated to Shillings 357 billion. He said that Shillings 140.8 billion out of the Shillings 6.09 trillion provided for the Treasury Operations in the current financial year 2019/2020 had been earmarked for court awards.  This was an increase from Shillings 120 billon in the previous financial year. 

Ssemakula also then tabled a list of 35 litigants before Parliament’s Finance Committee who had secured court orders for compensation of Shillings 357 billion. Some of the court cases for which government was set to pay included Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu Vs Attorney General Shillings 4.43 billion, the Kamuswaga of Kooki Vs. Attorney General and Secretary to Treasury, Shillings 59.1 billion, Pastor Daniel Walugembe Vs Attorney General Shillings 50.6 billion and Ramnicklal R. Popat Vs Attorney General Plot 12 Army Avenue (Mackinnon Road) Kampala, Shillings 35.1 billion and others.    

Ssemakula noted that the Ministry of Finance is faced with a dilemma of absence of funds to clear the court awards, saying that in some cases courts issue garnishee orders on accounts of various government entities.

Uganda Radio Network-URN accessed a list of different government entities whose accounts had been garnished by litigants over outstanding payments and top on the list was Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) whose accounts have been garnished ten different times by litigants demanding over Shillings 25 billion.  

Some of the companies that garnished the KCCA Bank Accounts are Boots Investment, Otada Construction Company, Amdan Khan and Rwenzori Cotton Ginners Ltd, General Parts Ltd, Safinet Uganda Limited and Omega Construction Company among others. 

The other government entities whose Bank Accounts have been garnished include Uganda Land Commission (ULC), National Forestry Authority (NFA), NAADs and Ministry of Local Government.           

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