KAMPALA – The High Court in Kampala has suppressed an illegal decision by the registrar of cooperatives John William Kitandwe to interdict Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA) leadership.
In his ruling, High Court Judge, Justice Andrew K. Bashaija reasons that interdicting UCA board chair Mr Johnas Tweyambe and General Secretary Ivan Asiimwe, was illegal, ultravires, biased highhandedness and irrational.
Justice Bashaija contends that the mandate to order for a probe into controversies at UCA lay with the board that Kitandwe illegally suspended, putting him at the centre of confusion at the apex cooperative body.
“Being a corporate body, the Registrar’s powers had to be exercised in strict conformity with the law and after due consultation,” Justice Bashaija ruled crucifying Kitandwe of bias before ordering him to pay costs to the duo.
In the October 24 letter, the Registrar for Cooperatives at the Ministry of Trade, Mr. Kitandwe had asked Mr Tweyambe and Mr Asiimwe to hand over their offices to pave way for investigations into alleged mismanagement of the UCA.
He had indicated that UCA has been embroiled in operational, accountability, governance and management issues.
“Arising out of these issues, an investigation was conducted by a team of some board members. Their report affirms that indeed there are serious challenges which include fraud, uttering false documents and impersonation,” the interdiction letter reads in part.
Justice Bashaija said the decision to interdict the duo was in breach of the laws of natural justice.
In his ruling, the judge pointed at Kitandwe as being at the centre of frustrating business at UCA, halting his probe on the board.
Prior to the ruling, the board had in a petition dated January 13, 2020, to Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives asked the minister to expel Kitandwe from the affairs of UCA saying that his improper conduct and plans/motives have the effect of suffocating and killing the Cooperative Movement in General and Uganda Cooperative Alliance specifically.
“His improper conduct and motives have the effect of suffocating and killing the cooperative movement in general, and the Uganda Cooperative Alliance specifically,” they added.
Speaking to media on Wednesday at UCA offices in Kampala, Assimwe claimed that Mr. Kitandwe has already registered a parallel apex body named the National Alliance of Agricultural Cooperatives in Uganda to suffocate UCA.
“This team is working tooth and nail to remove UCA from the Cooperatives Act through the new Cooperative Amendment process by replacing UCA with a statement that reads ‘there shall be an Apex’ instead of the reference to UCA as the Apex body,” they further argued.
“The UCA board hereby petition you to put to order Mr. Joseph William Kitandwe, the registrar of cooperatives, stop him from micromanaging UCA and replace him with another representative of the ministry on UCA board,” the board wrote, adding that most of his actions are illegal, out of context and are driven by personal interest.”
Mr. Assimwe revealed that he has launched a probe into the theft of prime properties of UCA as ordered by the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in one of their resolutions.
He said that key properties of UCA including houses in Bugolobi, Kansanga and Lugogo bypass, a plot at UMA, 16 acres of land in Kajjansi, and over 10 blocks have disappeared at the hands of mafias.