Court Bailiffs have impounded a truck belonging to Gulu City Council over the failure by the city authorities to pay a debt of 40.5 million shillings accrued in court costs.
The truck with registration UG 0306L donated through the World Bank Funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development- USMID programme was impounded on Wednesday by bailiffs from Jed Courts Bailiff & Advocates.
The money had accrued for the past four years after then Gulu grade one Magistrate Julius Mwesigye awarded general damages to a landlord in February 2018.
It followed a suit filed in 2013 by Sam Otim, a landlord and resident of Pece-Laroo Division. Otim accused the then Gulu Municipal Council officials of trespassing on his land, and destroying properties while opening up a road along Philip Taner road.
The verdict of the case on February 8th, 2018 ordered Gulu Municipal Council to pay Otim general damage amounting to 18 million shillings at a rate of 20 percent per annum and punitive damage of 2 million at a rate of 20 percent per annum.
But Otim told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Wednesday that since the ruling, the Municipal officials and later the city council officials declined to pay the court costs on unclear grounds.
He notes that the persistent failure by the city officials to respond to his concerns on payment prompted him to instruct bailiffs to attach the City Council property.
Janet Aciro, a court advocate at Jed Courts Bailiff & Advocates says they have followed all the necessary procedures in attaching the Gulu City vehicle. She notes that the attachment of the vehicle was conducted in the presence of the Police Commander in charge of Pece-Laroo Division.
Aciro says they will proceed to advertise the attached vehicle adding that after 15 days if they don’t get a response from the city council officials, they will go ahead to auction it to recover their client’s money.
This is not the first time the same complainant has attached the city council property. In November 2019, through Falcon X Auctioneers and Bailiffs, Otim attached a pick-Up Double Cabin registration LG-001117 belonging to the then Municipal Town Clerk`s office. He was later paid partly shillings 12 million by the Municipal Council.
The City Council authorities are currently battling to pay other court costs mainly as a result of losing court cases on trespassing on people’s land and destroying their properties during road opening and nonpayment of councilor’s allowances.
According to records from Jed Courts Bailiff & Advocates, the city Council currently owes about 94 million shillings in accrued court costs, out of which 90 million shillings is meant to pay landlords while 4 million shillings is to pay allowances for councilors.
Gulu City Council Mayor Alfred Okwonga told URN in an interview that the city has a debt of 2 billion shillings to pay out to various individuals arising out of court costs. He however notes that they currently don’t have the money to pay out the debts that they inherited from the then Municipal Council.
Okwonga however called for patience from those demanding the city council saying their money will all be paid once the city gets a substantial amount of money.