MTN Uganda, a telecommunications company, has faced a setback in its ongoing legal dispute with a former employee, Richard Mwami, who is seeking a compensation of Shs2.8 billion for alleged wrongful actions against him. This dispute dates back to 2018 when Mr. Mwami filed a lawsuit against MTN Uganda and others, including the Attorney General, for what he claims was malicious prosecution.
Representatives for the parties involved in the legal proceedings were Ms. Barbara Musimenta for MTN Uganda and Ms. Mercy Odu from AF Mpanga Advocates for Mr. Mwami.
The recent decision in this decade-long legal battle came from Judge Esta Nambayo of the Civil Division of the High Court. The judge ruled against MTN Uganda’s attempt to halt the case and ordered the company to pay the legal costs. Judge Nambayo found that Mr. Mwami’s case had a valid legal basis, necessitating a full examination of the evidence presented by both the plaintiff and the defendants.
The lawsuit initiated by Mr. Mwami on October 31, 2018, accused MTN Uganda and the Attorney General of unlawful and malicious prosecution. In response, MTN Uganda filed an application, arguing that the court had already addressed Mr. Mwami’s case and sought to have the case dismissed for a lack of legal merit. MTN Uganda also requested the court to award them costs in the event that they prevailed.
The core of MTN Uganda’s argument rested on a prior case from 2012 in which Mr. Mwami had sued the telecom company. In that case, Judge Yasin Nyanzi had ruled in Mr. Mwami’s favor on April 22, 2016, and he had also been acquitted of criminal charges in the Anti-Corruption Court.
However, Judge Nambayo made a crucial distinction. She pointed out that in the 2012 case, Mr. Mwami had sued MTN Uganda alone, with the Attorney General not being a party to that lawsuit. Additionally, the cause of action in the 2018 case, which revolves around unlawful and malicious prosecution, was fundamentally different from the cause of action in the 2012 case. The judge ruled that the 2018 case was not subject to res judicata, meaning that the same cause of action could not be litigated again once it had been decided on its merits.
In the 2018 lawsuit, Mr. Mwami sought special damages of Shs2.8 billion for wrongful dismissal and also requested general damages, exemplary damages, and a 25 percent per annum interest rate on all claims from the date of judgment until full payment. He also asked the court to grant him the costs associated with the lawsuit.
The background of this dispute traces back to Mr. Mwami’s dismissal from his position at MTN Uganda in April 2012. Subsequently, in the same month, he secured employment with Mobile Money Africa Ltd. However, in 2013, Mr. Mwami faced legal troubles when he was arrested and brought before the Anti-Corruption Court, where he was charged with embezzlement, corruption by neglect of duty, and conspiracy to defraud MTN Uganda.