By Andante Okanya
Ex-employees of the defunct Dairibord Uganda Limited, Shumuk Dairy Products Limited, and DFCU Bank Limited are locked in a row over sh103.4m that the 40 ex-employees are demanding as salary arrears.
On October 1, two representatives of the ex-employees Emmanuel Kizito and Javira Ampaire filed a civil suit at the High Court in Kampala.
The defunct Dairibord Uganda Limited, a dairy products supplier, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DHL, closed in April 2009 due to non-profitability.
The $6m investment, supplied dairy products to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan.
Subsequently after the workers were laid off on April 20, 2009, the company was put under receivership by DFCU Bank.
Court documents show that Dairibord’s assets were acquired by Shumuk Dairy Products Limited at a public auction.
In the sale agreement dated February 17, 2012, Dairibord’s equipment, land and buildings, plus other assets, were all sold. However, the amount of the sales at the auction, is not indicated.
Through Ssemakula and Company Advocates, the ex-workers allege that they were never given their salaries and arrears up to the point of closure, neither were they given any terminal benefits.
They claim both DFCU and Shumuk denied responsibility and knowledge of the claim, despite “being aware of the law on priorities of creditors during receivership.”
The plaintiffs assert that under the circumstances, they were entitled to payment from the proceeds realised after auction.
In the event that court rules in their favour, the figures could rise, as the ex-employees are also demanding a 25% annual interest on the sh103.4m from April 2009 till full payment.
Court has ordered the defendants to file their defence within 15 days from the date of receipt of the summons. In the summons dated October 2, 2013, signed by the division registrar Tadeo Asiimwe, they have been cautioned to heed, lest judgment is reached without his input.
The case file has been allocated to Justice Lydia Mugambe. However, hearing date is yet to be scheduled