Africa-Press – Uganda. High Court in Lira City has slapped a fine of Shs300 million on the leader of Lango Cultural Foundation, Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii, as costs of damages for “wrongfully” dragging a rival Paramount Chief to court.
The fine stems from five applications, all filed by the Lango Cultural Foundation, Mzee Odur and his former Prime Minister, Dr Richard Nam in 2017.
The applications had sought to declare that Eng Dr Odongo, the former Executive Director of Uganda Road Fund, was illegally elected as Paramount Chief and that the court should declare his election null and void.
Trouble started on February 12, 2017 after a section of clan leaders elected Dr Odongo Okune as the Paramount Chief of Lango.
And on May 15 that same year, they swore him to office. Days later, Mzee Odur Ebii, the incumbent Paramount Chief- then took Dr Odongo to court under civil number 019 of 2017.
Through Okello Oryem & Co. Advocates, Dr Odongo responded to Odur’s accusations. Consequently, the former executive director of Uganda Road Fund also filed a counter claim that the suit against him be dismissed and that Mzee Odur be barred from posturing as the Paramount Chief.
Mzee Odur failed to prosecute his case and it was later dismissed with costs by then Lira resident judge, Lady Justice Winifred Nabisinde.
Following the court decision, Eng Dr Odongo through his lawyer filed a bill of cost demanding that Lango Cultural Foundation and Yosam Odur pay him Shs700 million as costs of damages and legal fees.
On May 5, 2021, the costs were taxed by the Lira High Court and the court acting Deputy Registrar, Janeva Natukunda, read out the taxable bill of costs to the parties. During the court session, Eng Dr Odongo’s team was present in court but Mzee Odur’s did not show up.
Ms Natukunda said court ‘‘allowed Shs 15,936,340, Shs174,874,960, Shs93,549,520, Shs11,216,100 and Shs19,283,600 for all the five applications totalling to Sh314,890,520, as taxable costs.’’
Mr Drake Twebaze, a lawyer representing Eng Dr Odongo, said unless a lawyer representing Lango Cultural Foundation makes an application of stay off, nothing will stop the payment process.
“We are at liberty to attach any of the property of Yosam Odur and also the officers who were working for Lango Cultural Foundation like Dr Richard Nam (the former Prime Minister of Lango Cultural Foundation,” Mr Twebaze told Daily Monitor in a phone interview after the court ruling on Wednesday.