By Stephen Kassozi Muwambi
Another set of highly hyped foreign investors are on the spot for cheating their lawyers. The investors who allegedly arrived from Vietnam induced the Ugandan law firm of Barenzi and Company Advocates into carrying out close to 800 assignments.
The lawyers so toiled in the belief that they were working for serious as well as loaded international businessmen. They are now regretting for having been such naïve. The assignment the Barenzis carried out among others included linking the so called investors to the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Identified as Tran Tien Dai, Dong Quang Hien and Phan Do Hahn, the trio came to Uganda claiming that they were going to trade in gold, oil and other minerals as well as manufacture of pharmaceuticals , among a range of businesses. But they ended up failing to pay rent on several occasions, prompting their landlords to threaten eviction against them.
Upon landing here in July 2014, they contacted the law firm above which started off by helping them to register a company known as Vietnam Africa Trading Limited. The men from Vietnam then proceeded to send the lawyers on several legal errands such as that of linking them to key government officials and institutions.
To be fair, the Vietnamese paid up to sometime before telling the lawyers to work without immediate payment because they could not remit more money before receiving an international investment license from the government back home. “We agreed to work but those people never paid any penny from then on,” the lawyers assert. They would give up working in July 2016 after doing donkey’s work and waiting for payment in vain.
The lawyers have resorted to courts of law seeking a total of Ugshs1, 767,675,000 in legal fees. They also seek to be paid unspecified compensation arising out of the breach of remuneration agreement besides other damages and costs of the suit. The matter has been placed before Justice Richard Wejuli of the commercial section of the High Court for investigation. The summons sent out to the Vietnamese is giving them 15 days to file their defense.
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