Court name
High Court of Uganda
Judgment date
12 October 1995

Charles Rwemera v Uganda Leather & Tanning Industries Ltd (HCCS-1994/3) [1995] UGHC 2 (12 October 1995);

Cite this case
[1995] UGHC 2
Short summary:

Company Law, Corporate Veil, Labour and Employment Law, Terminal Benefits

 

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
IN THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA AT JINJA
H.C.C.S. NO. 3 OF 1994
CHARLES RWEMERA:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::PLAINTIFF
VERSUS
UGANDA LEATHER & TANNING INDUSTRIES LTD:::::::::::::::::::DEFENDANT
BEFORE: THE HONOURABLE C.M.KATO
 JUDGEMENT
 
 

The Plaintiff in this case is one Charles Rwemera. By his claim he is seeking to be awarded a total sum of 6,267, 708/= being money for his terminal benefits. The defendant is Uganda Leather and Tanning Industries Ltd (ULATI Ltd) who deny any liability to pay the plaintiff the amount being claimed.
The brief facts of this case are that the plaintiff was employed by the defendant company since 1-10-77 as a chemist trainee later on he was promoted to the post of production manager in 1982 but on 31-7-93 his services were terminated on the ground of redundancy. In his claim he says this termination was not justified and that he had never been paid his terminal benefits. On his part the defendant says he actually paid the plaintiff’s benefits in full.
At the hearing of this suit 3 issues were framed for the determination of this court and those are :-
1.       Whether or not the defendant is in breach of the contract of employment
2.       whether or not the defendant has discharged his obligation to the plaintiff.
3.       whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to the remedy he is praying for.

On the first issue the learned counsel for the plaintiff Mr. Tuyiringire argued that the defendant is in breach of’ contract because he did not comply with the terms and conditions governing the contract of employment when he paid the plaintiff only 599,104/=. Since the argument and evidence by the plaintiff is directed to the issue of payment I take it that it is not in dispute that the termination of the plaintiff’s service was not wrongfully made since it was in accordance with articles 8 and 15(b) of the staff regulations governing, the parties.

The issue as to whether or not the defendant acted outside the rules can not be decided in isolation to the other 2 issues in that this issue is in fact dealing with what the plaintiff ought to have got. I will therefore deal with this issue generally as the two learned counsel did. Suffice to say here that the defendant in dismissing the plaintiff was not in breach of any contract but as to the benefits the plaintiff should have got on termination of his services with the defendant, that is the matter I am going to talk about now.

According to the plaintiff he was supposed to get a total sum of 6, 267,708/= out of which he got only 599,104/=, the defence states that the amount due was 4,486,514/= out of which they deducted 3,967,410/= leaving a balance of 519, 104/= which was paid to the plaintiff, the other amount having been deducted for the debts which he owed to the company (see annexture “A” to written statement of defence and Exh.D1). The plaintiff and the defendant seem to be differing on the matter of figures but not so much on principle. It may be pointed out that although the plaintiff in his plaint and evidence in court says he received 599, 104/=, the defendant says he paid him 519, 104/= it would seem the defendant is mistaken about the amount because even the cheque on which the money was paid shows 599, 1 04/= not 519, 104/=.

The first issue which is rather involving is that of 3,884,410/= which the defendant deducted from the plaintiff’s money. According to the plaintiff this money should not have been deducted to meet the debts owed to the defendant by another company called Double R Holdings. The plaintiff’s argument is that Double R Holdings being a legal entity should meet its own debts to the defendant, but the defence is of the view that Double R Holdings was nothing but the plaintiff himself who was hiding behind
Double R Holdings. With due respect I agree with Mr.