KAMPALA – High court judge Andrew Bashaijja on Wednesday evening ordered Qualicel, Nabukeera and Jamboree traders who went to court seeking orders to deposit their rent in court until issues of who should manage the three buildings is settled to pay costs.
The group dragged their landlords Mr. Drake Lubega and Mr. Mansur Matovu.
This is after justice Bashaijja has dismissed an application by the trader’s lawyer Elias Lukwago in which he wanted to appeal a ruling that denied him a chance to amend his pleadings before the High court.
Mr. Lukwago had asked permission from justice Bashaijja to add an application that is before the Land division to be part of that in the civil division of the High court.
However, Justice Bashaijja declined and instead ordered that the application be heard as it is.
“It is rare that leave is granted in matter intellectual in nature. Court has the discretion to rule on this matter, it is at liberty on how such discretion should be exercised,” the judge ruled.
After dismissing the application for appeal, Justice Bashaijja adjourned the hearing of the application to Friday morning.
According to the court documents filed on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 292 traders led by their chairperson Denis Muganga, also asked court to summon the three fighting parties who also include Horizon Coaches Ltd belonging to the departed car rally driver Charles Muhangi to appear and explain to court who is the rightful owner and manager of the suit premises.
The traders accuse Mr. Lubega and Mr. Matovu of closing their shops while demanding payment of double rent fees that they have been paying to Horizon Coaches Ltd for the last five months.
They contend that following November 5, 2018, Supreme Court order that placed the management of the three buildings under the Horizon Coaches Ltd, the buildings were renovated and renamed Horizon city and Bazanyanengo from Qualicell bus Terminal and Nabukeera plaza respectively and each tenant was tasked to pay UGX1.2 million as tenancy registration fee which they did.
They claim they have been paying rent fees stretching from UGX400, 000 to UGX3 million to Horizon Coaches until sometime in February 2019 when Lubega and Matovu showed up each claiming ownership and management of the buildings.
The traders say that on top of asking them to pay rent for 5 months, disconnecting electricity and other utilities and locking their shops, the two businessmen have also threatened to evict any trader who continues to pay rent to Horizon Coaches.
Through their lawyers of Lukwago & Co. Advocates the traders are seeking a declaration that the actions of the two businessmen of the closing of their shops, disconnection of electricity and other utilities and intimidatingly demanding rent from them in respect of the three are unlawful, illegal and amount to trespass, economic and business interference
They are also seeking court to issue an injunction stopping the 2 businessmen from further trespassing and interfering with their business premises until issues of management are clarified.
They also want the two businessmen to pay them General damages for loss of business and inconvenience.
Mr. Lubega and the late Muhangi; former managing director of Horizon Coaches were for a long time locked in a land row concerning the three buildings until 2018 when ownership and management of the contentious property was placed under the latter following withdrawal of an appeal by Mr. Lubega before the Supreme Court.