Court name
High Court of Uganda
Judgment date
5 February 2003

Dieter Pabst v Abdu Ssozi & Anor (Civil Suit-2001/294) [2003] UGHC 74 (05 February 2003);

Cite this case
[2003] UGHC 74


CIVIL SUIT NO. 294 OF 2001
DIETER PABST:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::PLAINTIFF

2. SAI LTD:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::DEFENDANTS

The plaintiff, a Germany national, brought this suit against the defendants to recover United States dollars 74,000. The debt arose as a result of a transaction between the parties for the export through Uganda of Columbite-tantalite ore from the war torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Accordingly a Memorandum of understanding was signed by the parties dated 8th August 1999 (Exhibit Dl). The parties also executed a Confidential Agreement of 5th November 1999 (Exhibit P.1). There was also presented in Court an agreement made under the Contract Act dated 15/8/2000 (Exhibit P.5) by which the defendant acknowledged the debt due to the plaintiff of $ 74,148.15. There is some textual dispute as to the actual amount of the notorious mineral that was supplied by the defendant to the Plaintiff. However it is agreed that the defendant did send by Air several consignments to the plaintiff through Entebbe to Europe in the performance of their agreement. As it came in the evidence a total of 8225 tons of the metal ore were shipped to Europe by the defendant. The plaintiff however contends that out of this only 4229 Kgs were of acceptable purity level while the rest were worthless soil as confirmed in Europe by the Assayers. The defendant on his part claims by way of counterclaim the full value of the consignments as according to him they were according to the specifications in the two Exhibits (Exhibit Dl and P.1) accepted by both parties. The dispute therefore arose when according to the plaintiff he discovered a large amount of the Ore to be worthless. The defendant contends that the Plaintiff must be bound by his pleadings wherein he admits the entire quantity of 8225 kgs. He also demands payment as a commission agent.

At the trial five issues were framed namely:- (1)whether there was a contract
(2) What are the terms of the contract.
(3) Whether the terms of the contract were breached and by who?
(4) What are the outstanding obligations
(5) Remedies.

The Plaintiff, Mr. Dieter Pabst testified on his behalf while the defendant called two witnesses.

As it emerged at the trial both the Memorandum and the Confidential agreement are admitted by each party. These would signify the existence of agreement by the parties. The issues that would arise would then be related to the performance of the agreement by either party. Before going into this controversy I should dispose of the
position of the last agreement (Exhibit P.5), which subsequently essentially acknowledged the debt by the defendant. The Plaintiff stated this when the document was put to him in cross-examination.

(Sees Exhibit P.5) Carol Mugisha is a friend of Angel Blasberg. The other witness is a cousin to her. We do business with Angel. Since March 2000. Also some of it is tantalite business. The last consignment Ssozi sent was in 1999. I have the original document. None of the witnesses to the document agreement was present when we dealt with Ssozi. I don’t know if any of them is