By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The newly appointed Inspector General of Government (IGG) Justice Lydia Mugambe has sued Hallmark Construction and Painting Company Limited and its director, James Kayita for unprofessional conduct and executing rubbishy, shoddy works on her multibillion posh apartments.
Angry Mugambe says her family constructed a ten-unit apartment block in Ntebetebe, Katuba Cell in Bweyogerere in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district in 2016 and in the process, according to her, met two ladies marketing the services of Hallmark, who later connected her to the company’s director Kayita.
Mugambe and Hallmark then signed an agreement for her construction at a whooping Shs450million. According to Mugambe, the contract was signed on July 3, 2019, requiring Mugambe to pay the contractors an initial deposit of Shs200 million which she did and agreed to make the final payment after the work is completed. However, Kayita changed gears shortly and came back Mugamba asking for more deposit outside the agreed amount, claiming he had used the first batch of the deposit, which she obliged and indeed gave him more shs120m.
“Before executing any substantial works, Kayita requested for additional funding, saying he had used up the deposit to pay different suppliers. Because I didn’t want my works to stall, I advanced to him another shs120million between August and November 2019,” Mugambe said.
She adds, “I made all those payments outside the contractual sum to cover the remuneration of the workers who had laid down their tools protesting the failure by their boss (Kayita) 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 poor quality frames in the doors.
As if all the above are not enough, Mugambe also says that they agreed and budgeted for Spanish Matt finish tiles but the contractor used inferior and locally made tiles. According to Mugambe, she hired an independent expert to audit the works and established that they were shoddy. “On top of the failure to rectify the errors on the site, the contractor failed to complete the works and to handover the project within six months”.
Now, Mugambe accuses the contractor of deceit, misrepresentation, negligence, blackmail, sabotage and breach of contractual obligations and wants court to compell the company to pay her over shs323million.
“I now want the court to compel Hallmark to pay me shs323 million in special damages and Shs10 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,” she prays in her submission.
However, in defence 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 Shs160 million which might have scared the judge financially.
“It is true she is suing us because we are also squeezing her to pay us our balance after a good job done. And for your information, the issue is not related to what she is accusing us of, it is because we presented to her a demand note,”. he said.
He added, “Every time we have been asking her to pay us she has been warning us and threatening us to stop demanding that money or else she will drag us to the High court bragging that since she works there, no one can defeat her. So you can see that the issue is demanding a judge our money as if demanding your money from a judge in Uganda is a crime”. Watch the space….