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
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.