KAMPALA – The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has said lawyers are not legally mandated to divulge any of their clients’ information before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) regarding the alleged fraudulent repossession and disposal of expropriated properties belonging to departed Asians.
COSASE, in a November 15 advert, asked particular individuals and lawyers involved in the matter to appear before the Commission.
But ULS president Simon Peter Kinobe in a letter to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, said the request for lawyers to appear before COSASE is in conflict with the laws and regulations governing the professional conduct of advocates.
“The request for advocates to appear before COSASE puts members in conflict with the laws and regulations governing the professional conduct of Advocates, particularly Evidence Act and the Advocates (Professional Conduct) Regulations,” Mr Kinobe’s letter reads in part.
“The Supreme Court of Uganda in the case of Uganda Development Bank versus Kasirye Byaruhanga…confirmed that Advocates cannot or be forced to divulge or disclose client information in the course of acting as an Advocate,” it adds.
The ULS president says while in the advert, the Advocates are requested to bring documentary evidence on the action taken on all properties they could have professionally handled, there is no specific mention of the properties or names of the clients for which the request is made.
He added that some advocates have indicated that some of the properties under inquiry are ongoing court matters and therefore subject of the Subjudice Rule.
“In light of the above legal position governing advocates, the blanket advert request is irregular and we request that you guide COSASE accordingly.