By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
The High Court in Kampala has ordered city socialite Sheila Nadege alias Don Zella to pay Speke Hotel Ltd Shs20 million as security costs for a case in which she sued Speke Apartments a subsidiary seeking damages worth $125,000 (about Shs 456m).
Justice Musa Ssekaana of the High Court Civil Division based his decision on an application by Speke Apartments’ lawyers seeking orders that the socialites furnish security for costs in her main case as well as costs of their application.
The Judge also ruled that although it is a fundamental principle that a person who asserts a claim should have access to justice, there are particular circumstances in which the plaintiff should be required to provide security because of the risk that the defendant may not otherwise recover his or her costs.
“I have carefully considered the applicant’s (Speke Apartments) application, the affidavit evidence, the laws cited as well as the authorities which have been cited by counsel. This application was not opposed by the respondent (Nadege); it would, therefore, mean that the evidence of the applicant is unassailed and the same is admitted as presented to this court,” the judge held.
The judge said that a plaintiff should never be permitted to litigate on an unlikely claim and leave the defendant with a paper judgment for costs.
“The respondent filed the suit claiming negligence on the part of the applicant but it is clear the respondent never had any contract between herself and the applicant. The said room was booked by a different person-Shanita Male, this therefore, means the respondent (Nadege) has no cause of action against the applicant (Speke Apartments) contractually or otherwise,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
According to the judge, the nature of the case before court shows that the respondent’s (Nadege’s) claims are frivolous and vexatious since the respondent does not have a contract with the applicant. The respondent seems to be in collusion with the suspected burglar and the whole robbery or burglary was stage-managed to seek compensation wrongly from the applicant and also to tarnish the applicant’s business image.”
The judge concurred with the submission of lawyers of Speke Apartments that Ms Nadege has no known property in Uganda or income or business which is also worsened by the fact that she is domiciled or resident in the United States of America thus will not be able to pay costs if she loses the main suit.
“After consideration of the circumstances of this case, I find it appropriate to order the Respondent to furnish security for costs of Shs20, 000,000 million being the costs incurred and likely to be incurred by the applicant. The respondent will deposit this money within a period of three months from the date of this order, alternatively, the respondent/plaintiff may provide a bank guarantee or a bond within one month,” the judged added.