Uganda Lodges’ Property at Budongo Eco Lodge have been Attached
Property worth millions of money belonging to Budongo Eco Lodge, a branch of Uganda Lodges that is located in Budongo forest, Murchison falls national park in Masindi district were on Wednesday attached by Florence Katusabe, a court bailiff attached to Flokats court bailiff and auctioneers.
Budongo Eco lodge is along Masindi-Paara road in Murchison falls National Park, 27 kilometers from Masindi town.
The execution of attachment follows issuance of warrant of attachment and sale by Uganda police criminal investigations directorate dated 27th March 2017 signed by Mutungi Charles, commandant land protection unit and Eliakim Atumanya, police’s legal officer addressed to regional police commander Albertine region requesting the DPC Masindi to ensure that execution guidelines are followed.
Edwin Atukunda the officer in charge of Masindi police station together with other police officers witnessed execution of attachment.
In 2013, Patrick Biribonwa, a business man in Masindi town sued Budongo Eco Lodge after the later failed to pay him shs7,228,400 that was a result of supplies made. On second of October 2013, Jesse Byaruhanga, the then chief magistrate at Masindi ruled the case in favor of Mr. Biribonwa Patrick and awarded him shs3,886,700 for costs, shs6,505,360 as interest on principal for 3 years and interest on costs for 3 years was shs3,498,030 making a total of shs21,118,490.
On 1st March 2017, the outgoing chief magistrate at Masindi, Gabriel Angualia issued a warrant to Flokat bailiffs to execute attachment and sale of Budongo Eco Lodge, whose implementation was done on 29th March 2017.
Some of the property that were attached include; a gas cooker, a gas cooker stove, two big cylinders, 2 food wormers, two deep freezers, one generator, one round wall clock, 3 counter stools and 16 pillows cases. Other items are 19 mattresses, 11 tables, 46 chairs, 16 mosquito nets and 3 emergency lamps.
The attachment left all employees at Budongo Eco Lodge stranded since business had been paralyzed. James Gude, one of the employees said he was distressed with execution of attachment of property adding that he was worried of their jobs.
Erick Obuki, the manager at Budongo Eco Lodge at first had attempted to oppose execution of attachment of property but was later cooled off by Edwin Atukunda, the officer in charge of Masindi Central Police station after telling him that execution was lawful.
Florence Katusabe, the court bailiff said that unless the money owed to her client including costs for execution of attachment, she will advertise the property in newspapers and sell them off.
Attempts to get a comment from Amos Wekesa, the chief executive officer, Uganda Lodges were futile as he couldn’t pick our telephone calls. However; Patrick Turinawe of Ligomarks advocates, representing Uganda Lodges told us that, execution of court order was unfair because there is pending appeal in high court.
Turinwe added that, Mr. Biribonwa Patrick has never been a supplier of his client much as he claimed to have not been paid over seven million. He said it is a policy of Uganda Lodges to pay its supplier after every week adding that: “Next week we are going to file an application in court seeking permanent injunction stopping Biribonwa and his agents from continuing with further attachment and we also want court to order return of attached property”.
He said that, Moses Gabriel Angwalia, the chief magistrate who has been transferred to Busenyi district issued attachment order erroneously because their application files that are in the hands of judicial officers at Masindi court had gone missing.