Court has ordered Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to pay Shs10bn to city lawyer Jeoash Ssendege with interest of 6% from 1996 to 2014.
Justice Christopher Madrama of the Commercial Court blamed KCCA for wanting to cheat Ssendege of his services it enjoyed from 2001 to 2014 on account that he had not legal agreement with the defunct Kampala City Council (KCC) to which he rendered the service before it evolved into KCCA.
“The agreement for remuneration of an advocate dated October 11, 1996 is not illegal, null and void or unenforceable. The applicant (Ssendege) is entitled to payment irrespective of whether the contract between him and the defendant (KCCA) is illegal because KCCA enjoyed the services he offered,” Justice Madrama ruled on Friday afternoon.
Ssendege entered into contract with the then KCC to offer legal service on October 11, 1990 until it expired on October 11, 1996. KCC however continued contracting him to defend it on a case-by-case basis but was not paying him.
When it evolved into KCCA in around 2011 Ssendege continued representing and demanding for his pay up to September 11, 2015 when the KCCA executive Director Jenifer Musisi Ssemakula wrote to Ssendege informing him that he was not entitled to any pay because he had been illegally awarded a contract against the provisions Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) rules and regulations.
The regulations require all business beyond Shs. 50 million to be advertised and companies bid to offer the service. Musisi also ordered Ssendege to return all files concerning KCCA he had with him within four days but Ssendege refused, insisting that he was holding onto them as security.
The solicitor General Francis Atoke who is also government chief legal adviser in his letter dated December 19, 2014 had advised that KCCA pays Ssendege at least for the period which is agreeable from October 11, 1990 up to 1996 but KCCA stuck to its guns.
“If KCCA believed the contract to be invalid, why did they continue to give written instructions to Ssendege. A person who has received goods and services should not be allowed to enrich themselves and turn around to say that the contract between him and the provider was unenforceable. The obligation in the contract is enforced by rule of law and not on account of acceptable circumstances. Having given instructions to Ssendege on a case by case basis, KCCA cannot deny paying on account that the contract is unenforceable when the services have already been enjoyed,” Justice Madrama reasoned.