Makerere Spends UGX1.5 Billion For External Legal Services

3349 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Makerere University lawyers have been ordered to represent the university on all legal matters in courts of law. This was after a probe found excessive expenditures on procuring the external lawyers to provide legal services. But this will require the university to secure the chamber status for their Directorate to be able to practice legally. The visitation committee discovered that the University incurred a sum of Shs.1.5billion for provision of legal services by two external law firms over the last 3 years.

Makerere University lawyers have been ordered to represent the university on all legal matters in courts of law. This was after the Visitation Committee of 2016 found excessive expenditures on procuring the external lawyers to provide legal services.
 
But this will require the university to secure the chamber status for their Directorate to be able to practice legally. The visitation committee discovered that the University incurred a sum of Shs.1.5billion for provision of legal services by two external law firms over the last 3 years.

During the probe, the team noted that the University has a Legal Directorate, and on its 136th Meeting, Council resolved that this Unit should represent the University in all legal matters. However, to date, this has not been implemented.

This was because the Unit had failed to secure chamber status, and five out of the 12 established posts were vacant, including the two top most positions. The university would later appoint a new legal director on a five year contract.
 
It was further noted that most of the cases brought against the University are related to Staff and Land matters, which should have either been amicably settled or avoided. The Committee received memorandum pointing to the several cases lost even with external legal representation.

It noted further that paying for external legal services when there is an established Directorate of Legal Affairs amounts to wasteful expenditure.
 
Besides, external services are quite expensive. For example, the University incurred a bill of Shs.600 million in legal fees in one case alone, regarding pension management by National Insurance Corporation.
 
It recommended that the University needed to expeditiously fill the vacant positions, secure the chamber status for their Directorate and subsequently require the Directorate to represent them in all future legal matters.
 
During a phone interview with Cannon Goddy Muhumuza Muhanguzi, the acting University Legal Director told URN that the university had written to the Uganda Law Council, for inspection of the proposed university legal chambers for approval.

The Uganda Law Council is mandated under the law to register, inspect all existing law chambers by or before March of each year new law chambers within five (5) days from the date of receipt of the request; and grant an Inspection of Chambers for Practicing Certificate upon satisfaction.  
 
Muhumuza said that the university will save a lot of money once the chamber is approved. He noted that the secretary to law council was on schedule to visit the Makerere proposed chamber this week. The University management allocated a building formerly occupied by the public relations office of the University for Utilization of a legal chamber.

//Cue in: "The Secretary Law Council…
Cue out: … lot of money."//
 
When contacted, Senior State Attorney Stella Nyandria, the acting Secretary to the Uganda Law Council confirmed receiving Inspection request from Makerere University over the legal chamber noting that the state attorney had already been assigned to do visit the institution.
 
Provided for under statutory Instrument No.65 of 2005 The Advocates (Inspection and Approval of Chambers) Regulations, a legal chamber is expected to have at least two practicing advocates, offices, computer, provision reception for clients, proper book shelves (law cabins), law books, letter head, sanitary facilities and proper books of accounts.
 
Nyandria says that once the law council visits Makerere University chamber and is satisfied, it will be granted certificate of approval which is renewed annually.
 
//Cue in: "We require you…
Cue out: …than two advocates."//

In November 2016, the Visitor and President of the Republic of Uganda appointed the Visitation Committee, 2016 to visit, study, make a situation analysis on causes of endemic strikes, assess progress on the implementation of previous reports, conduct an appraisal of the integrity of finance management and establish the student and staff numbers. This was after President Museveni had ordered the closure of Makerere due to staff and later Student strikes over unpaid arrears and lack of lectures respectively.

 

 

About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba