Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) has sued Chinese firm, Tian Tang Group Limited for alleged theft and vandalism of railway materials valued at Shs 12 billion.
URC accuses Tian of destroying 14 tons of railway materials recovered from the Chinese factory in Mbalala in Mukono district. Evidence before the court indicates that URC, which is in charge of maintaining all railway infrastructure, installations, locomotives and equipment on behalf of the Ugandan government faced the challenges of vandalism on a number of occasions.
“Following a tip-off and a court-sanctioned search of the defendant's/Tian Tang premises at Mbalala Mukono conducted by the Uganda police, 14 tons of the plaintiff's railway materials/equipment were recovered at the defendant's aforesaid premises and in a state where they were not re-usable, neither could they be reinstalled by the plaintiff thereby occasioning the plaintiff colossal financial loss,” reads the suit.
On March 29th, 2021, Mukono grade two magistrate, Steven Waidhuuba issued an order to search the premises of Tian Tang for rail sleepers, steel rails and Kyaci materials. The search was witnessed by URC and security officials led by Capt Henry Mawejje and SP Agnes Agabirwe.
According to URC, Tian had converted some of the materials to different uses from the purpose for, which they ordinarily procured them.
"The plaintiff shall aver and contend that all of the said actions of the defendant were illegal, callous, criminal, detrimental to a public good railway works infrastructure, and in most material particular, the defendant facilitated vandalism of the plaintiff's railway installations/equipment/materials by providing a black market for the same reason of which the plaintiff shall propose to the court that the defendant be condemned to punitive damages", the suit adds.
URC argues that the actions of Tian amounted to an actionable conversion purposed to permanently dispose of it of its property.
Through their lawyers, Engoru, Mutebi Advocates, the applicants want the court to order Tian to pay Shs 11.4 billion for the replacement of the rail material and value as well as compensation, Shs 150 million as cos of reinstatement and Shs 400 million as cost of freight, insurance, procurement and other related costs.
The High court civil division registrar, Jamson Karemani has already issued summons to Tian Tang Group Limited to defend itself within 15 days.