Uganda wants case on frozen bank accounts dismissed

Tuesday June 19 2018

Attorney General of Uganda, William Byaruhanga

Attorney General of Uganda, William Byaruhanga 

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

Arusha. The Ugandan government wants a case filed by 100 plus residents over their frozen bank accounts dismissed.

The government maintained that the case over the accounts allegedly frozen in the 1980s was time barred.

The counsel for the respondent told the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) that the matter is time-barred and should be struck out with costs.

Ismail Dabule had sued the Ugandan government on his behalf and on behalf of 104 account holders in unspecified banks, demanding release of their funds.

They claimed the government's refusal to release their money "without any justification" was in violation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC). 

The applicants opted for the regional Court after the Constitutional and Supreme Court of Uganda clarified there was no law in place freezing the said accounts and that the applicants were free to access their money.

However, two months after demanding the release of their funds on August 6th, 2016 through the intervention of the Minister for Finance, there had not been any response to date.

Dubale and company thereafter went to the EA Court, claiming refusal of their money was a violation not only of the EAC Treaty but the African Charter on Human and People's Rights as well as Ugandan laws.

But the respondent (the government of Uganda) argued that the case had been filed out of time limitation period required "and no exception is required under the Treaty on requirement".

The case dated back to 2004 when the 105 applicants instituted a civil suit before the High Court of Uganda but dismissed on October 31st, 2013.

The counsels for the Attorney General of Uganda, Odhiambo Bichachi and Esther Nyangoma insisted the applicants are not entitled any remedy. The hearing continues.