UNRA to Ordered Pay Sh31.4b in Damages to Parambot Breweries

FILE PHOTO: UNRA at work on a Ugandan road. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | The Court of Appeal has affirmed a High Court ruling that mandates the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to pay Parambot Breweries and Distillers a sum of Sh31.4 billion as compensation for damages incurred to their facilities and equipment during the construction of the Gayaza-Zirobwe road in 2012. The unanimous decision, authored by Justice Christopher Gashirabake with concurrence from Muzamiru Kibeedi and Oscar Kihika, concluded that UNRA was wrong to disavow the Attorney General’s consent to a settlement, asserting that the Attorney General’s opinion was binding on UNRA.

UNRA, the appellant in the case, had argued that the Attorney General’s consent to the report of the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Ministry of Works did not constitute an opinion as defined in the constitution. However, the Court disagreed, maintaining that the Attorney General’s expertise was sought and provided, and the report was confirmed as binding on the government and its institutions.

According to court records, Parambot had jointly sued the Attorney General and UNRA for negligence and encroachment on their land due to damages sustained during the road construction. Both parties agreed to engage the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Ministry of Works to reconcile conflicting valuation reports on machinery damage. The court had held UNRA and the Attorney General jointly and severally responsible for the damages, and a judgment on admission was entered against them.

UNRA challenged the decision on eight grounds, contending, among other things, that it was not a party to the decision. However, the Court found in favor of Parambot on all counts, emphasizing that UNRA was liable for claims arising from the performance of its functions and that the Attorney General’s consent to the compensation report was binding.

The ruling further held that the trial judge had rightly entered a judgment on admission for the amount of Shs 31,484,904,247 as indicated in the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s report, as allowed under Order 13 rule 6.

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