The Court of Appeal has set aside an earlier judgment by the High Court that had directed deputy commissioner of police in-charge of community policing, Anatoli Muleterwa to pay Shs 50 million of the Shs 282 million that had been slapped on government for auctioning a car belonging to Adrine Kemirembe yet it had been reported missing to police in 2008.
According to evidence before the High Court, having reported in missing in 2008, in 2010, Kemirembe’s husband found the car in Kisenyi and upon arrest, the driver revealed it belonged to Muleterwa who was by then working as a community liaison officer for Kampala Metropolitan Area.
In court, Muleterwa said he had bought the car through auction for Shs 1 million after the custodian of exhibits at central police station complained that there was congestion of vehicles at the police station.
In her judgment, Mugambe said that she failed to understand the circumstances under which a missing car that had been reported to police was auctioned and consequently slapped shs282 million on government, shs50 million of which was to be paid by government.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court, Muleterwa appealed.
In a judgment released earlier this week, three justices of the Court of Appeal including Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Monica Mugenyi and Remmy Kasule ruled that the shs120 million awarded to Kemirembe as special damages for loss of his vehicle was not justifiable.
“I find no documentary proof of the value of the respondent’s car as would justify shs12 million awarded by the trial court or of the shs120 million awarded as special damages,” Justice Monica Mugenyi said in the lead judgement.
She insisted that there needed to be evidence in form of documents to prove the value of the said vehicle before coming up with the award and subsequent damages.
“There is similarly no proof of the lost income that formed the basis for the award of shs120 million as special damages. Having found under my consideration of special damages that the actual income earned from the car was not proved, it follows that there was no solid basis for the measure of general damages awarded by the court,” the justice of the Court of Appeal said.
Consequently, the judge said there was no basis for awarding shs150 million as general damages.
The judge also said there was no basis for ordering Muleterwa to personally pay the shs50 million as had been ordered by the High Court.
The court however said the senior police officer should only pay shs10 million for renegading on his supervisory duty at the Central Police Station which resulted into the illegal disposal of the vehicle as unclaimed property.
Whereas the lower court had directed that Kemirembe be paid shs282 for the loss of her car, the Court of Appeal directed that only half of it which is shs 141 be paid to her whereas Muleterwa would pay shs10 million as nominal damages.