BOU Ready for Defense in Suit on Shs 20,000 Note Controversy

1000 Views Kampala, Uganda
The Bank of Uganda says it is ready to go to court to defend its use of a sculpture from a Ugandan artist imprinted on the new 20,000-shilling note. On December 15th Sylvia Nabikeeto Katende, one of Uganda's top sculptors, filed a suit with the High Court in Kampala claiming that she was never consulted, contracted or paid by the Central Bank for the use of her sculpture. She says this is in violation of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act and she wants more than one billion shillings for fraudulent use of her intellectual property. Sylvia Nabikeeto Katende is a senior lecturer at the Makerere University School of Industrial and Fine Art. She created the sculpture in question ten years ago. The original sculpture is at Makerere University and a prototype stand in Centenary Park along Jinja Road in Kampala. At a news conference today, the Bank of Uganda communications director Juma Walusimbi said the bank didn't intentionally violate Katende's property rights. He said the decision to use photographs of sculptures on the new currency notes was made by a committee to raise awareness of the art and their historical significance. Walusimbi said the Central Bank would successfully defend itself in court. According to him, before any sculptures were used, the consulting committee obtained permission from all the artists. He said the Bank had evidence to this effect. Katende claims that the committee of six artists was paid more than two billion shillings for the design of the new currency notes. She wants a share of that money. The Bank of Uganda released the six new currency notes in May. Central Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said the redesigned notes would show the outside world some of Uganda's gifts of nature and heritage. ###