The case comes at the time when a Chinese widow identified as Wang Yong Jie sued Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited, Mahathi Infra Services PVT Limited together with their chairperson Yandapalli Ravi Shankar, following the death of 51-year-old Ji Zong Wu whom they were reportedly employing.
Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited's Lawyer Robert Kirunda.
Brains Trust a non-governmental organization is suing the government of Uganda
for having signed an agreement with an Indian Company to exclusively operate the
business of transporting petroleum products on Lake Victoria.
Brains Trust says that on July 31st 2015, the government of Uganda
and its organs or agencies authorized an Indian Company called Mahathi Infra
Services Private Limited and its Ugandan subsidiary Mahathi Infra Uganda Limited
to transport petroleum products by barges to and from Uganda in total violation
of a bundle of human rights.
The records show
that the agreement which gives Mahathi Infra exclusive rights to transport the petroleum products on Lake
Victoria was signed between the company and Ministry of Energy and Mineral
Development for ten years. That is five years from the effective date and
another five years of exclusivity from the date of getting an operational license.
According to the petitioner
Legal Brains Trust, the monopoly project is backed by a number of documents which
were all reportedly signed secretly in breach of all pertinent laws governing
making of such contracts or agreements by government.
The court documents
dated November 19th 2021 include a redacted copy of the agreement, a
petroleum facility construction permit dated March 29th 2016, certificate of
approval by the National Water Management Authority dated March 18 2016 and a
Mahathi Infra letter dated December 2016 requesting project approval from the Ministry
of Works and Transport.
The Project Officer of Legal Brains Trust
Anthony Jjumba states in his affidavit supporting the case that despite the
stated purpose of this monopoly project, it is disturbing that Parliament and
the people of Uganda were unjustifiably bypassed before it was launched and
there are no clear safeguards for protecting the independence, sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Uganda.
it will have the deleterious effect of undermining efforts to build national
strength in the political, economic and social spheres and exacerbate out undue
dependence on other countries and institutions," reads the affidavit in
According to the
records, Legal Brains Trust through its lawyers from Centre for Legal Aid says that in purporting to endorse, approve or authorize
the contentious project, the government failed in its constitutional obligation
to endeavor to mobilize, organize and empower the Ugandan people equitably to
build independent and sustainable foundations for the development of the
the clear provisions of the agreement... ..i have come to the conclusion that its
dominant purpose is to cause the respondent/Attorney General to facilitate the
unmitigated exploitation of the Ugandan people and their resources by the
handpicked company and its special purpose vehicle," adds the affidavit.
contend that by handpicking the aforementioned Indian Company and its
subsidiary or affiliates to the detriment of other eligible providers that
could have competed for the same service was illegal. This they say it clearly breaches the
public procurement regulations and also undermines the right to equal access to
respondent/Attorney General flouted its obligation to carry out the requisite due diligence
for the selection of a company to develop an oil transport on Lake Victoria and
in fact it does not possess a due diligence report that can stand up to
scrutiny, or at all”, reads the affidavit by Jjumba.
further show that the “impugned conduct of the respondent/Attorney General goes beyond the
permissible exercise of state power in regulating business, and is blatantly
discriminatory, plainly unlawful, and unacceptable and demonstrably
unjustifiable in a free and democratic society”.
In October 2020,
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has been championing a shift from road to railway
and water transport noted that this (water) transport means is cheap and will help
reduce on the country's expenditure on road transport .
Legal Brains Trust is now seeking for a
declaration that the said agreement/contract, cabinet resolution or directive
by whatever name it is called be declared as illegal and an injunction be
issued restraining government and its servants from implementing it. The matter is yet to be fixed for
The case comes at the time when a
Chinese widow identified as Wang
Yong Jie sued Mahathi
Infra Uganda Limited, Mahathi Infra Services PVT Limited together with their Chairperson Yandapalli Ravi Shankar, following the death of 51-year-old Ji Zong
Wu whom they were reportedly employing.
Company which is represented by Captain Mike Mukula in Uganda has since denied
ever employing the deceased Chinese.