By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
Court has dismissed with costs a case in which National Unity Platform’s Fred Nyanzi had appealed against Shs38million legal costs to Kampala Central MP, Mohammad Nsereko.
Mengo Chief Magistrates Court on April 21, 2021 ordered Nyanzi to pay his political rival, Muhammad Nsereko legal costs amounting to Shs38m after losing an election petition against him.
The presiding judge Musa Ssekaana ruled that Mr Nyanzi filed his appeal out of time and without seeking leave of court to do so.
“The omnibus application seems to be seeking to extend the time and also hear the application by re-taxing the bill of costs downwards. This is irregular and wrong to file an application/appeal out of time and later seek to validate the same,” the judge ruled.
“A party should only come to court after the time has been extended by the court and not the other way round. The law does not allow you to file an appeal out of time and later you seek to have the appeal validated,” he added.
According to the court documents, Mr Nyanzi claimed that being aggrieved by the award of Shs38million, he instructed his lawyers M/s Jingo, Ssempijja & Co Advocates together with M/s Baingana & Co Advocates to file an appeal but the said lawyers neglected to do so within the required time.
But the court observed that Mr Nyanzi’s lawyer had an opportunity to correct the said mistake upon receiving instructions to promptly apply for extension and instead they also became indolent like the first two lawyers.
“The applicant’s counsel ought to have filed an application for extension of time promptly since she was aware that time had lapsed, but instead she opted to write a letter seeking a certified ruling which was not necessary at the moment. It is not a requirement to file a certified ruling before the application for extension of time is filed,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
“The applicant has failed to show how the two advocates of separate law firms who were purportedly instructed became negligent and the manner of instructions to the said law firms,” he added.
The court reasoned that it is not enough to merely allege that you instructed the lawyers and they failed in their professional obligation through negligence.
“An Advocate who is duly instructed and becomes negligent in the execution of his duties should be reported to the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Council instead of coming to lament about the negligence of counsel in court for sympathy,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
The court further ruled that Mr. Nyanzi did not present any sufficient cause for failure to lodge an appeal in time nor did he avail court material facts that failed him and yet he cites the lockdown.
Mr Nyanzi, an elder brother to the leader of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, had sought for a vote recount on grounds that the alleged electoral malpractices were orchestrated by Mr Nsereko and EC and that the same had cost him the seat.
Fred Nyanzi had also claimed that a total of 2,577 votes were uncounted by the EC and that if the same had been included in the tally sheet, he would have emerged the winner of the January 14 central Kampala legislative poll.
However, on January 28, presiding Chief Magistrate, Esther Nansambu dismissed with costs Mr Nyanzi’s application for a vote recount citing that his evidence to cause a vote recount was based on hearsay, which was not admissible in courts of law.