The High Court has allowed Parliament to permit a new firm to operate the Members restaurant and bar.
High Court Judge, Lydia Mugambe Ssali dismissed an application by Hellenar’s Restaurant, the firm that had operated the Parliament Restaurant and Bar for the last three years, to restrain and prohibit the Parliamentary Commission from hiring out a new service provider.
Delivering her ruling on Tuesday, 15 January 2019, the Judge said that Hellenar’s Restaurant is not the only company that can provide the required services to Parliament.
“The restaurant has fallen out of favour with Parliament and therefore, cannot continue its operations,” she said.
Hellenar’s restaurant applied for a temporary injunction to restrain and prohibit the Parliamentary Commission from altering or causing the alteration in the status-quo with regard to the operation of the facility. Their two year contract to operate the restaurant and bar located on the third floor of the South Wing expired at the end of last year, after a year’s extension.
In preparation for the expiry of the contract and to avoid a break in the provision of services, the Parliamentary Commission contracted another firm, Romeo’s Restaurant to operate the facility for the next two years.
Justice Mugambe stated that Hellenar’s Restaurant failed to prove a prima facie case because currently, there is no subsisting contract between Hellenar’s restaurant and Parliament.
“The Parliamentary Commission was even lenient to extend the contract of the applicant (Hellenar’s restaurant),” said Mugambe.
She added that Hellenar’s restaurant did not prove that the company will suffer irreparable loss because their loss can be compensated in case of any damages.
Mugambe added that Parliament has already contracted Romeo’s restaurant and failure to execute the contract may cause the restaurant to sue the institution leading to loss of public funds.
The service provider for the Parliament restaurant and bar provides meals to Members of Parliament, staff and their visitors throughout the working week. The provider also supplies refreshments during committee meetings and at various other activities in the precincts of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the High Court will also hear the application for a judicial review of the procurement process of provision of catering services to Parliament. Hellenar’s restaurant applied for a judicial review of the procurement process, stating that it was marred with illegalities.