KAMPALA, Uganda: Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA)’s long serving lawyer Jehoash Ssendege has floored Jennifer Musisi in the battle where he seeks to be paid legal fees for several years.
Jennifer fired Ssendege last year and ordered him to surrender all the case files belonging to KCCA. As if that was not bad enough, Musisi told the veteran lawyer to forget about billions of money KCCA owes him starting from the olden days of KCC.
She told Ssendege via the letter sacking him that KCC has since evolved into KCCA under her stewardship and that the new entity at City Hall had no obligation to pay the old legal fees incurred by the former entity.
She went on to tell Ssendege that he acted under no contract with the old KCC and continued to do the same under KCCA and that he could as a result not earn from doing illegal work.
Even when the office of the solicitor general counseled Jennifer to cut KCCA’s losses and pay Ssendege since the authority had benefitted from his work after receiving instructions to render the legal services, the Executive Director refused.
Other than carrying out directives of the Solicitor General, Jennifer elected to move to court. “The solicitor general’s is advisory. I will only pay when the court’s of law decrees so,” Jennifer asserted in a written statement she forwarded to the commercial section of the High Court.
Well, court gave its word last Friday. And the loser was Jennifer, but on a serious note, KCCA, which will have to pay with accumulated interest and costs of the case. If Jennifer had listened to the solicitor general who is supposed to be the chief government legal advisor, this story would be irrelevant!
Delivering his judgment, Justice Madrama said it was wrong for KCCA to blame Ssendege for working without a contract yet it was the authority itself which was supposed to draw one in the first place.
“KCCA feels the law was not followed, it should go ahead and prosecute its officials who neglected in this regard not the plaintiff,” Madrama observed. Madrama noted that since KCCA does not plead the issue of substandard work on part of Ssendege, it had no more excuse to hold his pay.
Alluding to the legal principal of equity, Justice Madrama said it would be fatally wrong for KCCA not to pay Sendege his legal yet it does not refute the fact of having benefitted from his legal work for many years.
The judge ruled that much as Sendege put in a claim of Ugx10bn, court will have to review it either upwards or downwards and then come up with the final bill.