The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has won a case in which city law firm, KTA Advocates, claimed payment of Shs 489 million for purportedly drafting the Axle Load Regulations.
In a High court decision, KTA Advocates Vs UNRA Civil Suit No. 208 of 2020, it was declared that UNRA had drafted and developed the Vehicle Dimension and Load Control Regulations, 2017 in-house by the Directorate of Legal Services.
Commenting after the High Court decision, the Director Legal Services at UNRA, Mary Kuteesa said when Allen Kagina assumed office of the executive director, she received 90 invoices from 14 law firms totalling to Shs 17 billion for legal services allegedly rendered for F/Y 2014/2015.
Among them was the invoice from Karuhanga Tabaro & Associates (now KTA Advocates) for Shs 489 million
allegedly for instructions they received to draft the UNRA regulations.
The invoice was however not backed by instructions and there was no proof of any deliverable or work done. The referred to regulations were eventually drafted in-house from a zero draft.’
“We therefore rejected the invoice in its entirety and advised our colleagues at KTA advocates to seek redress in court. We are glad that Court agreed with us and dismissed the claim,” Kuteesa said.
According to the ruling, the High Court declared that:
1. For a contract to bind a public authority [UNRA] it ought to have been duly signed by the authorised officials like the executive director of the authority, and it must comply with the provisions of the PPDA Act.
2. Where a Plaintiff sought to rely on emails between the law firm and employees of UNRA to establish the existence of a Contract with UNRA, the court found that KTA did not succeed because it failed to establish that a contractual relationship existed between UNRA and the firm.
3. The claim of Shs 489 million for purportedly drafting the drafting Axle Load regulations was dismissed.
4. The UNRA (Vehicle Dimension and Load Control) Regulations, 2017 [ and other UNRA Regulations] were drafted in-house by a UNRA team led by the director legal services. There was therefore no need to outsource
this service from an external law firm.