By AWORI ESTHER LUCY
KAMPALA, SHIFT MEDIA- Recently when fired gutted a lodge destroying property worth millions, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) was sued for negligence.
The outcome of the verdict exonerated UWA as we report below.
Uganda Wildlife Authority received a land mark court ruling in its favour against Godfrey Kaganda who sued the authority for negligence after a fire allegedly originating from Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve destroyed his forest.
The Judgment in the case of Godfrey Kaganda Vs Uganda Wildlife Authority, Civil Suit No. 009 of 2018 was delivered on October 27, 2021 by Justice Vincent Emmy Mugabo of Fort Potal High Court exonerating Uganda Wildlife Authority, setting a precedent on fire out breaks near Protected areas.
In a statement issued by UWA on Friday, Godfrey Kaganda sued UWA in 2018 claiming that the agency had failed to manage a fire it had started in Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve. He alleged that the fire had escaped from the Wildlife Reserve and burnt approximately 17.2 acres of a eucalyptus plantation on his farm. Kaganda alleged that as a result, he had suffered great loss, pain, inconvenience and frustration. He prayed to court to be awarded special damages of UGX 203,580,000/=, general damages of negligence and an interest rate of 18% per Annum as well as costs of the suit.
High court Justice Vincent Emmy Mugabo dismissed the case and exonerated UWA due to lack of evidence indicating that UWA started the fire or that the fire originated from the Wildlife Reserve. The Judge also exonerated UWA on all allegations of being negligent in managing the fire. The case was dismissed and Kaganda was ordered to pay costs incurred by UWA in litigating the case.
UWA ED Sam Mwandha expressed happiness that the organisation has been exonerated. He said that people who suffer losses occasioned by fires should not just conclude that UWA is responsible.
He explained that fires can be sparked off by many things including natural causes but people are quick to accuse the institution.