Workers’ MP Sam Lyomoki has this afternoon been committed to Luzira prison for six months by the Constitutional Court after he failed to pay legal fees amounting to Shs36m to his lawyers of Victoria Advocates and Legal Consultants for representing him in a court case against his party. MP Lyomoki was arrested along Parliamentary avenue on Friday morning by court bailiffs of Elder & Hai General Agencies & Court Bailiffs as he came out his office. Lymoki had so far been issued with seven arrest warrants.
Subsequently, he was taken to the chambers of the registrar court for Appeal Erias Kisawuzi who accordingly, committed him to Luzira civil prison for six months. Despite pleading with the court not to commit him to Luzira prison on grounds that the court bailiffs arrested the wrong party, the MP’s pleas fell on deaf ears.
The registrar was not convinced with Mr Lyomoki’s explanation that it was not his personal responsibility to pay the legal fees but that of his party, NRM, before he committed him to prison. The debt arose out of legal fees that Lymoki failed to pay his lawyers, Victoria Advocates and Legal Consultants, after he gave them instructions in July 2007 to file a constitutional petition against his party and attorney general for blocking his private member's bill.
The matter was however settled out of court by both parties in January 2010. It is alleged that Lymoki failed to inform his lawyers of this development. In February 2010, Victoria Advocates lawyers led by Wandera Ogalo filed a solicitor and clients bill of costs in the Constitutional Court and were awarded UGX 36m cost.
In his defense in court before the registrar, Lyomoki told court that NRM promised to pay the money. He said, “The court bailiffs should follow up with the NRM; they have arrested a wrong party. My position is that NRM party should pay,” said MP Lyomoki. A Victoria Advocates lawyer who identified himself as Komakech, strongly disagreed with the submission of the MP on grounds saying that they had never had any contract with NRM.
“If he had an arrangement with NRM to pay us; that was a private arrangement between him and his party NRM. NRM has never been our client and we have no case against it.” counsel Komaketch argued. Mr Komakech further urged the court not to release the MP as he been elusive for the whole year and that once released this time, he could take more two years to cause his arrest. Court agreed with him and committed the MP. The advocates undertook to pay the UGX 3,000 daily for Lymoki's posho and beans for the next 6 months he is going to be in prison.