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Gov’t Stands to Lose Billions Over State Attorney Understaffing – AG Byaruhanga Warns

Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga has decried government under-staffing of state attorneys, something he says is partly the reason the country continues to lose law suits in a haphazard manner.

Byaruhanga while appearing before parliament’s legal committee on Thursday, revealed that out of 683 cases lodged against government in the current financial year, its representation stood at 75%.

Whereas these legal representatives saved Uganda of paying 648 billion shillings in legal costs after winning 60% of the cases, Byaruhanga said this could have much bigger.

The AG says in most instances government loses legal cases largely due to lack of representation which forces judges to rule in favor of plaintiffs.

He added that the practice of state lawyers hooping from one court to another seeking adjournments has proven to be unsustainable.

“Now even if the judiciary is patient with you, after three adjournments there is a party on the other who is similarly pleading for Justice. Of course if you don’t attend the case there is a high likelihood that you are going to lose. We really need funding for increment for our legal staff,” Byaruhanga pointed out.

With pending court award arrears standing at 545 billion shillings, he warned that things are likely to get out of hand now that droves of Ugandans are more eager than ever to drag government to court.

“As you all know the Ugandan population has become very litigious. They keep on litigating all the time and they know their rights,” he said.

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At the moment, Christopher Gashirabake the Deputy Solicitor General told the meeting, efforts to raise the staffing levels beyond 60% have hit a snag due to lack of funds.

As a result of financial hiccups at the finance ministry, the entity has only received 101 billion shillings out of the approved 162 billion shillings that was approved for the 2019/2020 financial year budget.

 

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