Mugambe says that her family constructed a ten-unit apartment block in Ntebetebe, Katuba Cell in Bweyogerere in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district in 2016. During the process, she says she came in contact with two ladies marketing the services of Hallmark, who introduced her to Kayita.
She explains that Kayita who holds out as an experienced and seasoned contractor together with a team of five other staff, met her in several meetings to discuss the scope of the works. According to the documents before the High court civil division, Mugambe stated that after inspection and negotiations, Kayita’s team presented a bill of quantities worth Shs 450 million.
They drafted a contract on July 3, 2019, requiring the judge to make an initial deposit of Shs 200 million and clear the balance after six months, when the work is completed. Mugambe deposited Shs 200 million as agreed in the contract.
However, before executing any substantial works, Kayita requested for additional funding, saying he had used up the deposit to pay different suppliers. Mugambe advanced him another Shs 120 million between August and November 2019.
According to Mugambe, she did all this outside the contractual sum to cover the remuneration of the workers who had laid down their tools protesting the failure by their boss to pay them and purchase quality cement and sand sometimes to replace the poor quality material provided by the contractors.
She also faults the company for using wrong mixtures, poor quality sand and putting a third layer of plaster on the undercoat of the interior walls, which later made the walls to develop cracks. She also says the contractor installed poorly quality frames in the doors.
Justice Mugambe also says that they agreed and budgeted for Spanish Matt finish tiles but the contractor used inferior and locally made titles. According to Mugambe, she hired an independent expert to audit the works and established that they were shoddy. She notes that on top of the failure to rectify the errors on the site, the contractor failed to complete the works and handover the project within six months.
In her suit, Mugambe accuses the contractor of deceit, misrepresentation, negligence, blackmail, sabotage and breach of his contractual obligations. She wants court to compel Hallmark to pay her Shs 323 million in special damages and Shs 10 million per month as monies foregone from February 1, 2020, till the completion of the rectification works on the apartments as well as general damages due to anguish and numerous inconveniences and commercial losses.
When contacted for comment, Kayita said that the suit isn’t about shoddy works, but that the judge decided to sue his company after they presented a demand note of Shs 160 million.
"Yeah, I know about it. She is suing us because we demanded the money. The issue is not about shoddy work, this is because we sent in a demand note. She has been warning us every time we demand that she will take us to the High court where she works and that we shall pay her. The issue is demanding a judge, we did not know it is a case demanding a judge in Uganda." Kayita said.
Justice Musa Ssekaana, the deputy head of the High court civil division, who will preside over the matter, is yet to set a date for the hearing.