UGANDA'S UTL SUES GOVT ON SHS16B PHONE BILL

Telecoms

Ugandan incumbent UTL has taken the unusual step of has suing the government for failure to pay Shs 16.1 billion in Telephone bills.

The telephone company through Kiwanuka, Karugire & Co. Advocates filed the case against the Attorney General at the High Court's Commercial Division on February 2, 2005.

Utl is seeking court orders to recover the money with interest at court rate from the date of account verification till full payment, general damages and costs of the suit.

The company claims that the government of Uganda through its ministries and departments rented several telephone lines from its management running from 2003 up to June 2004.

Utl says the government undertook to pay the bills.

According to the court records Shs16,093,008,688 accumulated from 40 various government ministries and departments.

The departments named include Uganda Peoples Defence Forces with the highest bill of Shs5,532,869,163, State House/President's Office with Shs2, 768,440,324, External Security Organisation Shs1,150,526,646, Uganda Police Shs1,041,601,826, Uganda Prisons, the Movement Secretariat and Internal Security Organisation.

The debtors include all government owned universities, courts of Judicature, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Judicial Service Commission, Auditor General's office and the Inspectorate General of Government.

Some of the ministries named are the Ministry of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Education, Energy and Mineral development, Health, Gender, Trade and Tourism Industry.

Others are; Ministries of Internal Affairs, Public Service, Local Government and Agriculture.

According to Utl their lawyers met with government representatives to verify the said accounts of the various parties concerned.

"The accounts were verified by officers of both the plaintiff and the defendant and the amount owing determined. Copies of the reconciliation sheets were also signed" read part of the plaint.

According to Utl, the Attorney General through Ministry of Finance admitted the debt and undertook to pay arrears.

The Utl says that the government has failed to pay the money claimed to date despite several reminders)

The Monitor