RESPONSE TO MONITOR NEWSPAPER STORY TITLED “COURT DISMISSES BITATURES APPLICATION SEEKING PROTECTION FROM PROSECUTION OVER LOAN”
We respond to the above story which is based on a court ruling delivered on the 24th May 2022 in M.A 414|2022 Simba Properties Investment Co ltd &3 Ithers Vs Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership & 6 others, where we represent the Applicants.
This ruling adumbrates the glaring deficiencies of the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS) which most Advocates and court users have been complaining about.
As can be gleaned from the ruling, our Clients application for a temporary injunction was dismissed with costs against counsel, primarily on the ground that no substantive application was filed in court. This is ironical because a current review of the online filing system (ECCMIS) reveals the contrary as indicated below.
I. We filed an application for contempt of the court arbitral reference order issued by Justice Boniface Wamala in HCMA No 201 of 2020 by the respondents on the 11th day of April 2022 at 12:17hrs.
II. The said application was given a draft No DRFT HCT-00-CC-MA-0408–2022 under the ECCMIS system and upon the mandatory validation exercise by the court registrar, the said application obtained a new number HCT-00-CC-MA-0332–2022.
III. We also filed an application for a temporary injunction which was given a draft No 0414 of 2022 and it was also given a validation final application No 331 of 2022 by the court registrar. An extract from the ECCMIS system confirming both entries is attached for ease of reference.
IV. So by the time we appeared for the hearing of the temporary injunction before the land trial Judge Hon. Justice Steven Mubiru, the final application numbers were already in the court system.
V. Since the ECCMIS is presented as a quintessential system which is inter-operable so as expedite court processes, it came as a surprise when court claimed both at the hearing and in the ruling that our contempt application was not on the system.
VI. It even came as a bigger surprise that the court its self was confused by the system when it issued the ruling under draft application №0414 of 2022 instead of the final application №331 of 2022. Why would a final ruling be issued under a draft application if the system is indeed reliable?
VII. From the above narrative, it is evident that the decision and ruling of the court was based on apparent misinformation or malfunction of the ECCMIS. This error cannot be hypnotized on the advocates who do not manage the system and have been wrongly cited for imaginary negligent conduct in this case!
Whereas we have been instructed by our clients to appeal the impugned ruling to the court of appeal for the above and other reasons, we wish to note however that an inefficient ECCMIS may become an impediment to the administration of Justice in the courts where it is being piloted in Uganda.
The efficiency of ECCMIS must be streamlined immediately before other Advocates and litigants fall victim to its endemic malfunctions. Alternatively, operation of the system should be suspended until robust capacity to put it to good use is acquired by the judiciary.
Dated at Kampala the 25th day of May 2022
MUWEMA AND CO. ADVOCATES
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