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Verdict on Gov’t, UVCC coffee deal for mid-December

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The High Court will on December 15, 2022, give its verdict on the cancelled controversial coffee deal signed between Government and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited (UVCC).

Justice Emmanuel Baguma of the Civil Division of the High Court set the date after hearing from the parties following a court battle that has lasted about five months.

“File written submissions on the matter before October 31, 2022, and then I shall deliver judgement on December 15,” he directed on Thursday.

During the hearing, George Kallemera, the commissioner civil litigation represented the Attorney General, and Counsel Gerald Batanda represented UVCC. 

Meanwhile, petitioners Henry Byansi and Micheal Aboneka were represented by Counsel Derrick Tukwasibwe.

In April, this year, Byansi and Aboneka petitioned High Court, seeking a review and cancellation of the agreement.

The agreement signed on February 10 this year gave the company monopoly to process coffee for export from a factory that would be established on a 27-acre piece of land in Namanve Industrial Park.

In their application, the duo argue that the finance ministry did not follow all legal and administrative processes and make adequate consultations with the Solicitor General, agriculture ministry, Uganda Coffee Development Authority and other related agencies, before signing the agreement.

“The action of the finance minister of secretly handpicking UVCC at the detriment of other able Ugandan firms to singly manage the production, export and setting prices of coffee beans and related products, is illegal,” argue Byansi.

The lawyers purport that giving UVCC priority to supply coffee has a consequence of creating a monopoly through the impugned agreement in violation of anti-trust and laissez-faire, which restricts interference and unfair competition in the economic affairs of individuals and society.

The duo also contend that the act infringes on the right to own property and economic rights of the coffee farmers and traders.

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