By Davis Mugabi
Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, has told petitioners in the controversial coffee deal that they will meet in Court.
Two lawyers have petitioned the High Court Civil Division to quash an agreement between the Government and Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited on grounds that it is illegal and irrational.
Henry Byansi and Michael Aboneka are challenging the agreement signed by Ramathan Ggoobi, the Secretary to Treasury on behalf of the government and Enrica Pinetti, an Italian investor and the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited board chairperson on February 10, 2022.
The agreement grants Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited exclusive rights to buy Uganda’s coffee before the government can look at other players. The Company is also exempted from paying taxes such as Import duty tax, Stamp duty, value-added tax, National Social Security Fund, and Pay as You Earn for ten years. The company also reserves the right to determine the coffee prices in the country on top of enjoying electricity subsidies among other benefits.
In their application, the lawyers want the court to declare that the actions of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to handpick Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited in disregard of able Ugandan firms to solely manage the coffee business, set coffee prices and related products, is an infringement on the right to own property and open competition as well as economic rights of coffee farmers in the country.
Responding to one of the petitioners last evening, Kiwanuka simply said: “See you in court”