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Rights abuse to cost billions in awards

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  •  The Justice ministry has compiled a list of beneficiaries whose human rights were abused over the years.

Human rights violations by government agents will cost the Ugandan taxpayer billions of shillings in compensation payments covering just a fraction of the 2022/2023 financial year.

A list released in a public notice issued by the Justice ministry yesterday reveals that government will pay out more than Shs6.5 billion to 88 parties whose rights were abused by its agents, including members of the security forces.

The list includes individuals, companies and organisations who won court awards after proving beyond a reasonable doubt that their rights were violated by the State.

It is not clear if the latest pay-out is more or less than what the taxpayer has incurred over the years in compensation awards for what should be an avoidable expenditure if State agents were more respectful of citizens’ human rights.

Ministry spokesman, Mr Simon Peter Jamba, told Daily Monitor he could not immediately say how this figure compares with previous payments because tracing the records takes time and he was, unfortunately, out of office yesterday.

“I don’t know how much was paid in the last quarter and I cannot get that information at this time. Maybe I can look for it at a later time,” he said.

In its notice published in the local press, the ministry said the “Attorney General has received funds and verified the following persons for payment in relation to human rights court awards and compensation for this quarter (fourth quarter – FY2022/2023)”.

The ministry added: “The persons whose names are listed below are requested to contact the principal accountant (Eriver Mukasa) on eriver.mukasa.go.ug and 0414345033 to provide personal and bank account details in relation to their payments within 14 days from the date of this advert or else your payment will be deferred and will not attract any more interest”.

The lowest amount to be paid will go to two individuals (Mr Abbey Higenyi and Mr John Bosco Olupot), with each walking away with Shs100,000, while the highest sum of Shs964,8 million will go to a Samuel Black.

Other multimillion awards include Shs763.6 million to St Joseph’s Kyabiruka Mother House (Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel of Mbarara); Mr Samuel Ongiera and 39 others at nearly Shs617.2 million; Brig Jacob Musajjawaza Shs603.2 million and Serene Suites Shs546 million.

The ministry says particulars required to ensure payment are national identity cards, tax identification numbers, physical addresses and bank account details.

“Payment shall only be made directly to the claimant’s accounts and not paid to agents,” the statement reads.

The ministry has also warned the claimants against dealing with third parties, saying all those who submit relevant documents will have their accounts credited once payments are processed.

“Please note that there is no need for you to pay a fee to anybody for these funds to be processed by the ministry and, we call upon the public to desist from frequenting our offices on account of following up payment,” the statement says.

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