Court directs on closed Chapter Four case

The High Court in Kampala has directed  the two parties in the case in  which government was sued for suspending the  licence for Chapter Four to file written submissions upon which it will deliver its ruling.

Chapter Four was among the 54 NGOs that were suspended by government in August over unclear reasons.

On Wednesday when the case came up, Justice Musa Ssekaana asked the lawyers of Chapter Four led by David Mpanga and Francis Gimara as well the representatives of the Attorney General to file written submissions.

In this regard, the judge directed that he directed that Chapter Four lawyers file their written submission by Monday and that the Attorney General files a reply on behalf of the NGO Bureau by December 20, 2021.

The judge however asked the parties to return to court on January 11 to assess the progress of the case before he gives a ruling date on the matter.

“Court has given us directions, on how the case is going to proceed. We are going to proceed by written submissions and we will file our submissions by December 6, the Attorney General representing the NGO Bureau, have a up to December 20th, to file their reply, we have been directed to file our rejoinder to the reply if any, by December 22,”Mpanga told journalists.

Background

Following its closure, Chapter Four dragged government to court challenging the decision contained in an August 18, 2021 letter that accused the NGO   of operating in non-compliance with the law.

“The decision of the respondent (NGO Bureau) communicated in a letter dated August 8, 2021, concluding that the applicant (Chapter Four), is operating in contravention of the Non-Governmental Act, 2016, is irrational, unreasonable, unlawful and is void,” the court documents  read in part.

According to Chapter, the decision by government to indefinitely stop their operations was high handed, illegal and violated the Non-Governmental Organisations Act.

According to Chapter Four, the actions of the NGO Bureau are without factual basis on grounds that prior to the closure, they were filing their annual returns with the latest being in January and that they were fully compliant with the law.

However, in defence, the NGO Bureau told court that Chapter Four had failed to file annual returns for the previous year 2020 and this led to suspension of their activities.

 

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