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Court Attaches NRM’s Billions in Two Banks

A three-year case in which a business firm sued NRM for failing to pay more than Shs 4.9bn for T-shirts supplied for the 2011 presidential campaigns came to a close on Tuesday with the High court ordering the attachment of the ruling party’s accounts in two banks.

President Museveni before journalists.

One of two accounts (0121152263500) to be attached is titled; “Masindi 20th February” on which NRM deposits money for the construction of the Movement House.

Masindi 20th February is a Housing Finance bank account launched on July 16, 2012, by President Museveni, in memory of the decisive NRM attack on Masindi army barracks in 1984.

The 27-storeyed Movement house is in part recognition of the 27 armed men who attacked Kabamba barrack in February 1981. By 2012, the Masindi 20th February account had accumulated over four billion Shillings.

Muse Musiime, the deputy registrar of the execution and bailiffs division of the High court, issued the order for the attachment of the accounts on April 25, 2016.

“All debts owing or accruing/due from Centenary Rural Development bank account number 2910500001 and House Finance (U) Limited account number 0121152263500 in the names of Masindi 20th February or any other existing account of the judgment debtor [National Resistance Movement] be attached and held until further orders of court to answer a decree recovered against the judgment creditor [Kampala Modernity Stationers and Printers Limited] for a sum of Uganda Shs 4,990,700,000.
“Together with the garnishee proceedings on which still remain unpaid,” Musiime ordered.

The order emanates from a 2013 suit filed by Kampala Modernity Stationers and Printers Llimited, a Dubai-based printing firm, through Muwema and company advocates, in the Commercial court against the ruling party demanding Shs 4.9bn.

In 2011, NRM entered into a memorandum of understanding with Kampala Modernity Stationers and Printers Limited to supply three million assorted T-shirts for the NRM 2011 presidential election campaign.

Kampala Modernity sub-contracted Bright Arrows Trading, a Dubai-based company, to supply the T-shirts. When NRM failed to pay, Bright Arrows turned its guns on Kampala Modernity Stationers accusing it of breaching the MoU clause, which committed the plaintiff to pay 50 percent of the purchase price in advance and the balance upon delivery of the goods.

The deal happened when Amama Mbabazi was still in NRM as PM before when he was sacked in 2014.

According to Bright Arrows, it was also agreed that in case Kampala Modernity delayed or breached the payment schedule, it would pay damages amounting to 30 percent of the value of the goods. Court documents indicate that Kampala Modernity Stationers deposited Shs 3bn when Bright Arrows started delivering the T-shirts in batches.

On March 1, 2016, Thadeus Opesen, the deputy registrar of the Commercial court, ordered NRM to pay Shs 4.99bn following an admission by the party that the said garments were procured through a local purchase order.

“Judgment on admission is hereby entered against the respondent [NRM] in the amount of Shs 4.9bn. The issue of costs of the application shall be determined during the hearing of the suit,” Opesen said then.

In its earlier response to the claims filed in court in 2014, NRM represented then by Kandeebe & Co. Advocates, denied owing money to Kampala Modernity Stationers.

They stated: “The NRM has never contracted the defendant nor has it asked the defendant to order the alleged merchandise on its behalf. The defendant shall be put to strict proof hereof.”

On June 8, last year, NRM legal adviser, Adolf Mwesige, wrote that the party did not have a plausible defense to the claim because there was evidence that they received the T-shirts and paid a substantial deposit of Shs 1.7bn to Kampala Modernity Stationers and Printers Limited.

President Museveni greets NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba and other party officials on arrival at Kyankwanzi.

“…NRM does not disown the local purchase orders or the signatures of its officials who received the garments and signed on the delivery notes...,” Mwesige wrote.
Interviewed for this story yesterday, NRM’s lawyer Geoffrey Kandeebe rubbished the registrar’s order.

“The case had not been fully resolved by the judge [Christopher Madrama]. How can the accounts be attached? It is erroneous and as soon as I return to Kampala, we shall challenge the order,” Kandeebe said.

Registrar Musiime also ordered that officials from both Centenary Rural Development bank and Housing Finance bank appear before him on May 6, 2016.

“….At 2:30 pm o’clock, in the afternoon on the application by the judgment creditor that the garnishee banks [Centenary Rural Development bank and Housing Finance bank] mentioned herein pay the debt due from it to the said judgment debtor [Kampala Modernity Stationers] or so much thereof as may be sufficient to satisfy the decree together with costs of the garnishee proceedings,”

By yesterday, lawyers of Kampala Modernity Stationers and Printers Limited led by Fred Muwema and Kevin Nsubuga had served both Centenary bank and Housing Finance bank with the order. According to Muwema, the order means that NRM cannot withdrawal any money from the accounts since they are now frozen.

By Robert Muriisa via Observer.

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