Wilson Kyambadde is arrested by a court bailiff at Old Kampala as he is trying to board a taxi to Mityana to attend a burial.
PIC: Wilson Kyambadde (left) pictured here being escorted by court bailiff Moses Kirunda to the court cells, was sentenced to six months in jail on Monday. (Credit: Miriam Namutebi)
FRAUD | PRISON
KAMPALA - Wilson Kyambadde, husband to minister of trade, industry and cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde, has been jailed for six months over a sh1.1b judgment debt he has failed to clear, four years after court made the decree.
Kyambadde was on Monday arrested by Moses Kirunda, a court bailiff, at Old Kampala as he was trying to board a taxi to Mityana to attend a burial.
He was arraigned before the executions division where he was then whisked to a civil prison after he failed to put up a strong defence.
In 2013, court issued a decree ordering Kyambadde to pay a decretal sum of US$ 300,000 (about sh1.08b) and sh32.29m as costs to businessman Amdan Khan.
This followed a suit that was filed by Khan seeking to recover his money and accusing him of fraud.
According to Khan, in 2012, Kyambadde approached him with a forged letter from State house, claiming that President Yoweri Museveni had given him a house, and was selling it. He (Khan) offered to buy it and gave US$300,000 as payment.
However, he later realised that the house was non-existent and asked for a refund, but Kyambadde kept dodging him. After several failed demands, Khan petitioned court to help him recover his money.
In response, court ordered Kyambadde to refund the money and pay another sh32.29m as costs incurred in the suit by Khan.
While appearing before the court’s deputy registrar Flavia Nassuna Matovu, Ronald Oine, the lawyer representing Khan, said that when Kyambadde declined to heed the decree, a warrant of arrest was issued against him on April 30, 2014, but was not respected.
“In 2015, the judgment debtor (Kyambadde) attempted to set aside the decree but court ordered him to make a 50% deposit of the decretal sum within 45 days, which he did not adhere to. Following his contempt of the directive, his application for stay of execution was dismissed,” Oine told court.
He said that Kyambadde again rushed to Commercial Court and filed an application seeking to set aside the decree. Justice Christopher Madrama granted his request but asked him to pay US$ 100,000, which he failed to raise, prompting the judge to re-confirm the decree.
Oine said they were then forced to re-apply for a warrant of arrest, which was issued but when Kyambadde got whiff of it, he approached Khan and they entered a consent settlement where he was given a schedule of payment.
“He again failed to honor it. He instead moved again to court to have the consent settlement set aside on claims that he did not sign it. The application was dismissed for want of prosecution after he together with his lawyers failed to appear before court,” Oine said.
He noted that Kyambadde was given several opportunities to pay the money but he deliberately refused to heed. He asked court to commit him to prison for six months, with Khan committing to pay for his upkeep.
“Since we obtained the decree in 2015, it has been difficult to apprehend him, not until today when the court bailiffs got him."
meanwhile, Kyambadde’s lawyer Sam Kalanda asked court not to imprison his client because they have an application for stay of the consent settlement which is going to be heard on September 4 and another application before Commercial Court seeking to set aside the consent decree which was filed on May 23.
“It is our prayer that the judgment debtor be discharged until those two applications are heard and determined by the court. If committed to a civil prison, the application will be rendered useless,” he said.
In a rebuttal, Oine said that they aren’t aware of any pending applications and Kyambadde is just trying to avoid paying the debt. This prompted Nassuna to ask Kyambadde whether he has any other defence.
Donning an untucked white shirt over a pair of black trousers, with hands clasped together, Kyambadde shook his head to indicate that he had none.
“It’s clear that he doesn’t dispute the complainant’s claims. His conduct seems to be an abuse of court decisions. I therefore commit him to jail for six months or until full payment of the money,” Nassuna said.
She said that sh3, 000 will be given to him daily for upkeep.
Upon giving her ruling, Kyambadde was quietly escorted by the police officers to the court’s holding cells to wait for the prison bus.