Ugandan court summons former prime minister over failure to pay rent

Amama Mbabazi

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Commercial Division High Court Registrar Flavia Nabakooza, has summoned the former Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi to file his defence in relation to allegations of failure to pay rent.

“You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within fifteen (15) days from the date of service of summons on you in the manner prescribed under Order 9 Rule 1 Civil Procedures Rules. Should you fail to file a defence on or before the date mentioned, the plaintiff may proceed with the suit and judgment may be given in your absence,” reads the summons. The summon arises from a suit filed by Yonasani Kanyomozi against Mbabazi for breach of their landlord-tenant contract.

Through his lawyers of M/S Anguria and Co Advocates, Kanyomozi accuses Mbabazi of failure to pay Shillings 26,983,452 over a period of four months for his rented office premises on Plot 29 in Nakasero, Kampala. He explains that in 2015, Mbabazi rented the office space for his 2015/2016 presidential campaigns dubbed “Go Forward.”

The two parties entered a Tenancy Agreement in 2015 where Mbabazi was required to pay a monthly rent of USD 5,000. He explains that Mbabazi was required to pay for six months before occupying the premises.

Kanyomozi explains that after the elapse of six months in December 2015, Mbabazi continued occupying the premises without fulfilling the terms of the Tenancy Agreement. “After the first deposit, Defendant started becoming uncooperative, avoiding the plaintiff and paying rent in insignificant fractions despite numerous demands and reminders from the plaintiff,” reads the suit.

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The court records show that by October 29, 2021, Kanyomozi had only received US$ 39,992 (UGX 143,729,648) out of the US$ 47,500 (UGX 170,713,100) he demands. Kanyomozi accuses Mbabazi of other breaches including failure to return duly signed copies of the Tenancy Agreement in addition to the outstanding balances.

He also notes that Mbabazi has deliberately avoided responding to communication concerning the rent. According to the records, Kanyomozi sent out over seven reminders to Mbabazi for rent payments from 2016 until last year.

He also argues that even at that, when Mbabazi made some payments of the agreed rent, it was in insignificant fractions. Kanyomozi says that his attempts to get written agreements signed by Mbabazi following the irregularities were futile as he failed to get his response on the documents sent out.