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Lubowa hospital: Ruling on contempt delayed

By Farooq Kasule, Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 24th August 2019 09:57 PM

The clerk to the judge informed the parties that the ruling will be given on notice before the end of this week. This means that the parties will be notified of the new day for the case.

Lubowa 703x422

An artistic impression of the proposed hospital. Courtesy Photo

The clerk to the judge informed the parties that the ruling will be given on notice before the end of this week. This means that the parties will be notified of the new day for the case.

LUBOWA HOSPITAL

KAMPALA - The verdict in a case in which ROKO Construction Company wants the court to fine Finansi International $9m (sh33.2b) for conducting an eviction, despite a court order barring it has been delayed after  High Court judge Andrew Bashaija scheduled to deliver a ruling is reportedly sick.

The clerk to the judge informed the parties that the ruling will be given on notice before the end of this week. This means that the parties will be notified of the new day for the case.

Through Enos Tumusiime, ROKO wants Finansi International penalized a fine of $3m and punitive damages of $6m to ROKO as sanctions for contempt of court.

ROKO also wants Finansi International director, Enrica Pinnetti and its company secretary, Moses Matovu, to be committed to civil prison for disobeying court orders.

It also wants Finansi International to pay the costs of the application.

Last month, Justice Bashaija issued a temporal injunction, restraining Finansi International from evicting ROKO and interfering with the company’s execution of works and possession of the site.

He also directed that ROKO stays at the construction site until a petition filed by the company against the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising ROKO and Finansi International is heard and disposed of.

However, the court has heard that Finansi International, headed by an Italian Investor Enrica Pinneti, has removed ROKO’s property from the site and engaged a Chinese contractor, China Power.

In response, Finansi lawyer, Gerald Matanda, submitted that remedies sought by ROKO are not applicable and that it would be a travesty of justice if such orders are granted.  

“We pray that the application is dismissed and Finansi is awarded costs,” he requested.

Government approval

Last year, the Government approved a move to back an investor, Finasi International, to construct a modern specialized hospital at Lubowa.

The specialized 264-bed hospital is supposed to include a health training school, staff housing, an 82-room budget hotel, and a 5, 000-seater conference hall, all estimated to cost $249.9m (over sh926b).

It is supposed to serve the region with services for cancer, kidney transplants, heart, and brain surgery, and other specialized treatment currently unavailable in Uganda.

The Government approved a $249.9m loan guarantee to Finansi International to build the hospital. The Government also approved Roko Construction Company Ltd to start the construction.

In their affidavit filed at the High Court, ROKO says under the terms of their agreement with Finasi, they were supposed to execute the construction of the hospital, which included taking possession of the site, grading it, securing and providing water and electricity on the site.

The SPV later entered into a contract with the Government to design, finance, build and equip the hospital and ROKO was solely given the task of constructing the hospital under the agreement signed.

ROKO indicates that they solely looked for financiers of the project and obtained security and letter of conformity only for Finansi to turn around and ask them to leave.

Court documents indicate that ROKO brought on board financers, who included South African Trade and Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank, Barclays Bank Uganda, Amalgamated Bank of South Africa, who have already contributed $250m for the project.

On December 4, last year, the Government of Uganda signed a direct agreement with the banks in which they promised promissory notes.

In March, the Attorney General’s office gave a legal opinion supporting the financing of the project and eventually parliament gave it a nod after a lot of haggling.

Recently, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga ordered an investigation into the alleged disappearance of $37m (about sh140b), which was part of the money advanced to SPV accounts by the financers.

Row over land

The development comes at a time when the family of late Prince Yusuf Ssuuna Kiweewa is still claiming ownership of the land.

The land in question measures four square miles in Makidye- Ssabagabo, Wakiso district. 

 

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