By Henry Mukasa
A Dubai-based businessman has sued the Government over non-payment of a $2.17m (about sh4.1b) debt.
Sami Haroona Eisa, the director of Stream Aviation, said he was contracted to ferry UPDF troops for operations in Southern Sudan and Somalia.
In a suit filed at the High Court on January 9, Eisa said the defence ministry has refused to pay his fees after fulfilling his contractual obligations.
He stated that in or about December 2008, the defence ministry contracted his company to offer air cargo operations on a charter basis.
According to a December 12, 2008 letter to the director of Stream Aviation, defence ministry permanent secretary Rosette Byengoma requested the company to position four AN-12 aircraft at Entebbe Airbase.
Eisa says his company made over 30 trips.
In the documents before court, Eisa argues hat upon satisfaction of obligations under the contract, the ministry â€œallegedly made some payments to unauthorised persons and which information has been withheld from the lawful contracting party.â€
Through his lawyers, M/S Katuntu and Company Advocates, Eisa asked court to order payment of the money owed to his company, interest from date of the contract, damages and costs of the suit.
In December last year, Eisa petitioned the Inspector General of Government to force the defence ministry to pay his fees.
Eisa also said Byengoma fraudulently released $1.3 (sh2.4b) to Barnabas Taremwa, a Ugandan he had entrusted with some of the local operations.
He said the money was paid basing on forged letters.
Last month, MP Abdu Katuntu, the lawyer for Stream Aviation, said he had instructions to recover the money and take the matter to court if mediation failed. â€œI have talked to the deputy Attorney General to see how the matter can be settled amicably because it is of a security nature and classified.â€
On December 14, 2008, the UPDF, the SPLA (the army of Southern Sudan) and Congolese forces launched an operation against the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army in Garamba forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UPDF is also deployed in Somalia under the African Union force.