Court name
Commercial Court of Uganda
Judgment date
4 June 2013

Buganda Tea Estates v Nakabiri (HCT-00-CC-CS-2009/128) [2013] UGCommC 109 (04 June 2013);

Cite this case
[2013] UGCommC 109

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA

IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA

AT KAMPALA

COMMERCIAL DIVISION

 

HCT - 00 - CC - CS - 128 - 2009

 

 

BUGANDA TEA ESTATES ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::PLAINTIFF

 

VERSUS

 

NAKABIRI IRENE:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::DEFENDANT

 

 

BEFORE:   HON. JUSTICE GEOFFREY KIRYABWIRE

 

 

JUDGMENT

 

The Plaintiff brought a summary suit against the Defendant for recovery of Fifty Three Million Two Hundred Ninety Nine  Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty Three Uganda Shillings (Ugshs. 53,299,934/=) as the outstanding payment due to it as a result of tea supplied and received by the Defendant  from the Plaintiff, interest and costs of the suit.

 

In her Written Statement of Defence the Defendant avers that she was only acting as an agent of the Plaintiff Company when she supplied tea to the Plaintiff’s customers who are South Sudan nationals who later defaulted in payments.

 

Background of the case;

 

During pre-trial scheduling the defendant and her counsel stopped attending Court and Court directed that she be served by way of substituted service in the newspapers which was done. Still the defendant and her counsel did not attend Court so the case was heard exparte.

 

The Plaintiff was represented by Mr. Mubangizi of M/s Barugahare & Co. Advocates while Mr Yunusu Ntanzi Kasirivu of M/s Kasirivu & Co Advocates is on record for the defendant.

 

Issues

  1. Whether the Defendant owes the plaintiff Ushs. 53,299,934/=

 

  1. What are the remedies available to the parties

 

Issue No 1.  Whether the Defendant owes the plaintiff Fifty Three Million Two Hundred Ninety Thousand Nine Hundred Thirty Four Uganda Shillings (Ugshs. 53,299,934/=)

 

It is the case for the plaintiff that the Defendant owes it Ugshs. Ugshs. 53,299,934/=.

 

According to the evidence of B.S Reddy the Administrator of the Plaintiff Company in his Witness Statement the Plaintiff supplied tea to the Defendant on various occasions under a credit arrangement and that the Defendant acknowledged receipt by signing vouchers marked as Annexure “A”.

 

Mr Reddy further testified that during the parties’ dealings they maintained a ledger account/book which now showed that the Defendant owed the Plaintiff Ugshs. 53,299,934/= which the Defendant has refused to pay despite demands by the Plaintiff.

 

In her Written Statement of Defence the Defendant averred that she was only acting as an agent of the Plaintiff Company but not in her personal capacity.

 

The Plaintiff’s Counsel submitted that the defendant does not dispute that there is an outstanding sum of Ushs. 53,299,934/=. Counsel for the plaintiff submitted that the Defendant never adduced any evidence in Court to show that she was acting as an  agent and that she never actually received the tea in her capacity as the plaintiff’s customer as  evidenced by the sales invoices. Counsel for the plaintiff referred to the case of Habre International Co. Ltd vs Ebrahim Alarakia Kassam 7 others Civil Appeal No.4 of 1999 and submitted that it should therefore be presumed that the Defendant admits all the contents of the Plaintiff’s witness statement.

 

In conclusion Counsel for the plaintiff submitted that the Defendant is liable to pay the outstanding sum. In the alternative but without prejudice to the foregoing Counsel for the plaintiff further argued that if court finds that the Defendant was the Plaintiff’s agent then he should be ordered to account for the outstanding sum.

 

I have considered the parties’ pleadings on record, the Plaintiff’s evidence and submissions of Counsel for which I am grateful.

 

This dispute as I see it revolves around questions of fact. The Plaintiff relied on Annexure A and B, a collection of invoices and a ledger to show that the Defendant took goods from it on credit.

 

The Defendant on the other hand in her pleadings did not disputed taking the tea leaves from the Plaintiff, although she averred in her defence that she only took the tea leaves to the Plaintiff’s customers on credit. The defendant however never produced any evidence in court in confirm this or in rebuttal of the Plaintiff’s allegations against her.

 

In the premises based on the evidence on record I find that the Defendant is liable to pay for the tea that she took being Ugshs. 53,299,934/=.

 

Issue No 2. What are the remedies available to the parties?

 

The Plaintiff’s action against the defendant is for the sum of Ugshs. 53,299,934/= and interest and costs.

 

I have already found for the plaintiffs above so I order that the defendant pays the plaintiff the sum of Ugshs 53,299,934/= as prayed in the plaint.

 

Since this was clearly a commercial transaction I will also award the plaintiff interest at 21%p.a. from the date of filing the suit until payment in full.

 

The plaintiff did not pray for general damages or address Court on the subject. I accordingly do not grant them

Costs are awarded to the Plaintiff.

 

 

……………………………….

Geoffrey Kiryabwire

JUDGE

 

Date:  04/06/13

 

 

04/06/13

11:20

 

Judgment read and signed in open court in the presence of;

 

  • P. Alunga for Applicant

In court

  • None of the parties
  • Rose Emeru – Court Clerk

 

 

 

…………………………………….

Geoffrey Kiryabwire

JUDGE

 

Date: 04/06/13