UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Crane Management Services Ltd (CMS), one of Uganda’s leading real estate companies has filed a bill amounting to more than USh 215 million as compensation for legal costs for defending the case against Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) Uganda Ltd.
KACITA, claiming to represent 38 of its members, had filed a case against CMS and 16 other landlords in Uganda to block them from collecting three months’ rent (March, April, May) that had been gathered during the 2020 lockdown. The High Court dismissed the application in April, because the KACITA could not prosecute their case.
As part of the dismissal of the case, the court asked KACITA to pay legal costs incurred by the accused parties, including CMS. Other accused parties include Ntake Bakery Limited, Apple Properties Limited, Godfrey Kyeswa, Aponye House Limited, James Mugabi, Drake Lubega, Ham Enterprises Limited, Mansur Matovu alias Yanga, Christine Nabukeera, Daudi Mutebi, Yebaza Joseph, Ahmed Zziwa, Tom Kitandwe, Godfrey Kirumira Kalule, Twese Enterprises Limited, and Mutaasa Kafeero.
In May 2020, KACITA also petitioned the national task force established to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, under the Office of Prime Minister. In this petition, KACITA asked the task force to intervene and demand the landlords to waive rent arrears, as traders were home bound during the lockdown.
Furthermore, KACITA asked the government to declare that the three months’ rent during the lockdown is a loss to the entire economy, and tenants are not obligated to any rent for those months. This would mean that when landlords file their annual returns for the financial year 2020/21, URA should waive their rental income tax obligations for the three months.
CMS argued that the case did not disclose any cause of action, and that a small group of KACITA members brought it in bad faith. CMS itself is a member of KACITA and does not recall allowing, consenting, or approving any such case in their capacity as members.
CMS explained that their relationship with their tenants is overseen by tenancy agreements that have clear obligations outlined for both parties. Furthermore, CMS claimed that the court documents will highlight that CMS continued to pay its taxes and utility bills during the lockdown.
KACITA is a business support organization established in 2001. The aim of the organization is to encourage unity within the business community of Uganda, facilitate trade, and organize the community into a sustainable marketplace.
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