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Tuesday,September 24,2019 12:29 PM

Threat of UNBS losing sh8.2b house looms

By Andante Okanya

Added 25th July 2016 11:00 AM

Last year, court bailiffs issued a notice for auction of Standards House.

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UNBS executive director Dr Ben Manyindo told New Vision to “contact the Solicitor General about the latest”.

Last year, court bailiffs issued a notice for auction of Standards House.

The threat of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) losing its sh8.2b headquarter house, still looms, as the $1m(sh3.3b) debt owed to Japanese vehicle inspector, is pending.

On August 31 last year, court bailiffs from Nile General Auctioneers issued a notice for auction of Standards House and the four-acre piece of land comprised therein, located on Block 227 Plot 2-12 Bypass Link at Bweyogerere Buto Road.

The notice was to the effect that the imposing sh8.2b building located in the Bweyogerere Industrial Park, would be sold in an auction if the debt was not settled.

The court bailiffs were contracted by the law firm Nsubuga and Company Advocates and Legal Consultants, representing Japan Export Vehicle Inspection Centre (JEVIC).

The Executions and Bailiffs division of the High Court in Kampala authorised the auction following the 2012 Commercial Court award of $1m to JEVIC against UNBS for breach of contract.

However, a mini-truce was reached in December last year as UNBS requested for a six-month extension.

New Vision late last week sought a progress report on the negotiations and whether timelines had been drawn.

JEVIC lawyer Richard Nsubuga said he was still awaiting conclusive feedback from UNBS.

"They [UNBS] requested that we hold on. Maybe in the next three months, we will get the desired response. At the time of the request, it was during election time, so there was a hold up," said Nsubuga.

UNBS executive director Dr Ben Manyindo, declined to comment but referred New Vision to the Solicitor General. "Contact the Solicitor General about the latest. He can brief you about it.”

When contacted, Solicitor General Francis Atoke said he was on leave and could not authoritatively confirm any such negotiations.

The director of civil litigation in the Attorney General's office Denis Bireije said he too was oblivious. "I am not aware of any negotiations.”

BACKGROUND

In 2008, UNBS contracted JEVIC to implement road worthiness inspection of vehicles in Japan destined for shipment to Uganda.

In the UNBS directive, JEVIC was to charge $145. But importers of used cars from Japan complained of not getting value for money, contending that they re-fix their vehicles even after certification from JEVIC.

Additionally, the importers demanded the inspection be conducted in Uganda, noting that the Japanese economy was the beneficiary.

The importers lamented that the faulty cars could be fixed using local labour, which would in effect generate jobs for locals.

But in 2009, the Pre-Shipment Verification for Conformity to Standards scheme was halted by the then Trade and Industry minister Kahinda Otafiire after importers complained of the increased cost of doing business.

The complex was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in October 2014, as part of festivities to mark 25 years of UNBS.

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