By Andante Okanya and Hillary Nsambu
The Constitutional Court has asked lawyers representing three former board members of state broadcaster Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), to explain why a court application was disowned by their clients.
The court demanded that lawyers from the firm, Akampumuza and Company Advocates, must explain why the application was filed without instructions from the trio, as alleged.
However, the court presided over by a panel of three Justices Remmy Kasule, Geoffrey Kiryabwire, and Solomy Bossa, set July 31 as the date the explanation is expected.
In a letter dated July 17, 2014, the trio wrote to the register of the court, and disowned an application challenging the decision by Information minister to constitute a new board before their main case is heard.
The main petition arose in 2012, when the trio Chris Katuramu, Edward Musinguzi Mugasa, and Emmanuel Emoru, filed a petition challenging their removal from office.
On Thursday, the court had convened to hear the application. The application sought to have the minister Rose Namayanja, Attorney General (AG), and eight others, jailed in civil prison for six months for allegedly disobeying court orders.
In March 2012, Justice Steven Kavuma issued an interim order blocking any action on the trio, pending determination of the main petition.
The managing partner of the firm Dr James Akampumuza, was absent from court. The UBC board legal team was headed by Edwin Karugire, while the AG was represented by principal state attorney Phillip Mwaka.
But the application was dismissed after the trio told court that they had consequently sacked their lawyers.
“Court has heard from each of the applicants that the application was filed without their consent. The application is hereby dismissed for being incompetent,” stated Kasule, as he read from the joint ruling.
Also on July 31, the court will determine, between the sacked lawyers and the ex-UBC trio, who is to bear the costs, awarded to the respondents.
Karugire and Mwaka, did not specify who should bear the burden for costs but asked court to use its discretion.
Also on the same day, court will give further directives on the date when the main petition, will be heard.
The ex-UBC board members were asked to fast-track the process of getting new lawyers, in time for the hearing of the main case.
The dismissed application was seeking a sh1b in damages and sh500m compensation for the purported contempt of court and breach of the Constitutional Court orders.
The new UBC board, inaugurated recently, has started its work. It is chaired by former minister Nathan Igeme Nabeeta.
The board also comprises Richard Barungi, Sylvia Constance Nakabugu Birahwa, Mohammed Gulam Kabba, Mariam Menyha, Ian Kyeyune Sengonzi and Simon Kaheru.
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Court demands explanation on disowned UBC board application