Court Halts Construction Work at Shauliyako Market

2012 Views Kampala, Uganda
High Court has halted the reconstruction of Shauliyako market in Kampala. High Court Lands Registrar, Musene Masalu, today placed an interim injunction on the reconstruction of the market that is being undertaken by Shauliyako Market Vendors Company, pending the hearing of a case contesting the awarding the reconstruction tender to the company. Kampala businessman, Hassan Basajabalaba and his company, First Merchant International Trading Company, dragged Kampala City Council to court to protest against the awarding of a sub-lease to redevelop the market to Shauliyako Market Vendors Company. According to Basajabalaba, the 49-yaer sub-lease was awarded to the market vendors fraudulently. In its suit, First Merchant International claims that although, Shauliyako Market Vendors Company won the sub-lease in June this year, it did not have the capital to redevelop the market. First Merchant alleges that because of these circumstances, it entered into a mutual partnership with the vendors to fund the redevelopment project. The suit adds that KCC acted illegally by receiving payment from the vendors' company when it did not exist as a registered company. It says the company was fraudulently incorporated using backdated and forged documents. First Merchant International Trading Company wants court to either cancel the sub-lease or refund 510 million shillings, which it allegedly paid to KCC Central Division for the lease of the market land. It also wants more than eight billion shillings in general damages. The ruling did not go down well with the vendors who argued that halting construction works for three weeks was a setback to their business. Kampala Central Member of Parliament Elias Lukwago who is representing the vendors asked them to remain calm saying he would lobby court for another date. // Cue in: iWe are trying to work out #i Cue out: i#escalate into lawlessness.i // Masalu has set 21st November as the date on Justice Opio Aweri will listen to an application by First Merchant.