UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Two complainants involved in a high-profile city hotel case concerning the National Building Review Board (NBRB) fining USh50m for halting the construction of a hotel in Nakasero, Kampala, have expressed dissatisfaction with the presiding judge’s handling of the matter.
Mr Caleb Kakuyo and Ms Doreen Rwambuya, represented by BKA Advocates, claim that Justice Musa Ssekaana’s July 7 ruling failed to consider crucial supplementary evidence presented by the NBRB.
According to the complainants, Justice Ssekaana seemingly disregarded the supplementary affidavit that clearly confirmed the NBRB’s receipt of a complaint filed as an appeal under Section 37 of the Act.
They argue that the judge made his findings without referencing or considering the supplementary evidence, undermining the wider statutory mandate of the NBRB as a government regulator and enforcer of building control standards.
By dismissing the supplementary evidence, the court’s decision has limited the NBRB’s enforcement powers, including its ability to monitor building operators and oversee compliance with building standards, raising concerns about the proper enforcement of urban planning laws.
Justice Ssekaana’s ruling found the NBRB guilty of abusing its authority by using heavy-handed tactics to halt the construction of the Hilton Hotel in Kampala without affording the owner, Twed Property Development Ltd, a fair hearing.
The court emphasised that the failure to summon the developer before reporting the matter to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) constituted a breach of fairness rules.
Additionally, the order to stop building operations was issued without providing the applicant with an opportunity for a fair hearing.
However, Mr Kakuyo and Ms Rwambuya, who originally filed the complaint, argue that Twed Property Development Ltd had been invited to multiple meetings convened by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the NBRB but allegedly declined to attend.
The developer, Twed Property Development, had claimed that the halting of the hotel project, valued at over $95 million and part of the Hilton World Wide and Resort chain, resulted in daily costs of about USh100m.
Responding to the complainants’ criticism, Mr Jameson Karemani, the public relations officer of the Judiciary, suggested that they have the option to appeal to a higher court to address any perceived errors made by the trial judge.
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