EAC Partner States Must Do More To Achieve The Malabo Commitments

East African legislators have been urged to expedite the domestication of the Malabo Declaration by putting in place a regional legally binding protocol or instruments to ensure the realization of Malabo's goals. 

Without domesticating it at the regional level, it will hinder the full implementation of the Declaration which stakeholders in the agriculture sector see as a vital protocol that can transform the agriculture sector among the East African Community (EAC) member states.

Although the EAC member states signed the Declaration, its implementation has been a big challenge since none of the member states has respected the protocol which they endorsed on their signature in Equatorial Guinea.

 ‘’Our government are not serious when it comes to the implementation of the Malabo Declaration; that is why the agriculture sector among the EAC member states is still underfunded,” Hakim Baliraine, the Chairperson of Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF).

He was speaking during the 6th East African Agriculture Summit held in Arusha Tanzania. He added: “If the protocol was implemented among the seven member states, we could be seeing big achievements in the agriculture sector’’  

The summit was hosted by ESAFF and partners concurrently with the East African Civil Society Summit. The Arusha Summit was attended by various stakeholders including small-scale farmers, policymakers from various partner states, and civil society organisations. 

The focus of the Summit was "Agriculture and Climate Change." Key to the discussion was the financing of the agriculture sector in the region.

It’s the agriculture financing that attracted the stakeholders to raise the matter of the Malabo Declaration. They said that although each African state is supposed to allocate 10 percent of its national budget to the agriculture sector none of them has respected the Declaration, even those in the EAC Member States. 

Yet during the meeting agriculture was considered as the major sector that can transform Africa including EAC member states. 

How member states are responding to the Malabo Declaration, in his presentation, Fahari Marwa, the Principle Agriculture Economist at the EAC agreed with the comments from the farmers who said that the region is not doing well to attain the commitment targets. 

‘’In all the biennial reviews that were carried out in 2017, 2019 and 2021, it was discovered that the region is not on track to meet any of the Malabo Commitments. Therefore, the region needs to pay much attention to all Commitment areas if it’s to meet the Malabo Declaration by 2025,’’ Marwa explained.     

The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods is a set of new goals demonstrating a more targeted approach to achieving the agricultural vision for the African continent which is shared prosperity and improved livelihoods.

 The Malabo Summit reaffirmed that agriculture should remain at the top of the continent's development agenda and is a crucial policy initiative for economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa. The African Heads of State and governments agreed to seven broad commitments.

These include upholding the principles and values of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP); enhancing investment finance in agriculture; ending hunger in Africa by 2025; halving poverty by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth and transformation; and boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services.

Statistics indicate that the EAC region is still performing poorly as meeting the Malabo Declaration Commitments is concerned. Reflecting on the third biennial review, the EAC region achieved an average overall performance score of 5.60 compared to the benchmark score of 7.28 which is the minimum score required for a region to be on track in implementing the Malabo Declaration commitments. 

This shortfall indicates that in 2021, the region was not on pace to meet the Malabo commitments by 2025.





When KCB Bank without consent illegally opened fake accounts in Tirupati's name

Through court documents (Civil Suit No. 15 of 2022), Tirupati Development (U) Limited (the plaintiff) says KCB Bank Uganda and KCB Bank Kenya (respondents) from whom it had acquired a US$ 7,000,000 loan in 2012 created illegal bank accounts without her consent and used it to launder money.

Tirupati through her lawyers Aegis Advocates and Kirunda & Wasige Advocates says that in August 2016, KCB Bank ‘opened and operate two separate US Dollar-denominated loan accounts the names of the Plaintiff without the Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent.’

These were account number 1059906732 with KCB Bank Kenya and account number 2150226057 with KCB Bank Uganda. Also, in January 2017, KCB Bank Uganda opened and operated another new US dollar current account No. 2290351628 in the name of the plaintiff without the plaintiff’s authorization, consent or knowledge.

Tirupati says they never received any ‘coherent explanation’ for opening these ‘illegal’ accounts and when they demanded a reconciliation of accounts, clarity on the status of their loan repayments, and bank statements, none was honoured causing the plaintiff not to meet her loan obligations.

KCB Bank fails to explain abnormally  

Tirupati, between 2018 and 2021, wrote a series of letters to the banks raising several observed irregularities in its bank accounts including committed fraud and conspiracy to defraud. The bank failed to explain the inconsistent loan statements and balances observed by the plaintiff on her accounts.

Tirupati also believes that the banks were using bank accounts they created in their names to launder money thereby exposing the plaintiff and its directors to the potential prosecution for money laundering. 

The plaintiff says KCB Bank failed to manage the risk of financial crime and IT fraud when they maintained separate ledgers for the plaintiff’s accounts. Similarly, Tirupati says, the bank utilized her accounts in a manner that made any audit trail difficult to avoid scrutiny by regulators and law enforcement in Uganda and Kenya.

Huge monies laundered? 

In this claim of fraud and money laundering, KCB Bank facilitated the unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s accounts to transact in varying amounts between 2014 and 2021 totalling US Dollars 79,900,000 and 62 similar transactions totalling UGX. 315,992,747 which transactions bore no relationship to the plaintiff or its businesses for the period evaluated but appear in the names of the plaintiff.

"The plaintiff avers and contends that the 2nd and 3rd Defendant continues to this day to launder money through her named accounts. These actions did and continue to expose the plaintiff, its shareholders and directors to the legal and financial consequences and sanctions arising from the suspicion of engaging in illicit money laundering and probable terrorist financing, likely corruption, or payments procured through drug or child and sex trafficking through the illegal use of her accounts threatening her entire business enterprise."

With this suit, Tirupati wants the court to declare that KCB Bank breached the loan contract, is a fraudulent bank, neglected its fiduciary duties, failed to manage plaintiff accounts, failed to manage the risk of financial crime, cause the bank to return 20 certificates of title, account for all sums misappropriated with interest, declare that bank engaged in money laundering, pay fines and general damages and costs of the suit.

KCB Bank refuses to cooperate 

In an attempt to solve the impasse, Tirupati demanded that the bank operating in most countries of the East African Community provide key documents relating to the transactions of the US$ 7,000,000 loan acquired in 2012 including repayments and penalties. KCB refused. 

It is at this point that Tirupati filed a Miscellaneous Application No. 0707 OF 2022 In the High Court of Uganda at Kampala (Civil Division) against the bank. 

Tirupati seeks court intervention 

The application sought the court to order of discovery and production of all the documents listed herein, in possession of the respondents in support of their defenses. 

The documents sought by the applicant include those related to the loan transaction and loan account origination, negotiation, approval, processing, key facts documents, management, and closure. Specifically, the applicant requested documents pertaining to the loan accounts, various bank accounts in the applicant’s name, fraud detection policies, investment origination and management, IT policies, cyber security, digital forensics, and money laundering policies since the enactment of the Anti Money Laundering Act in 2013.

The application was supported by an affidavit from Mrs Kruti Barot, the Managing Director of Tirupati Development (U) Ltd. Mrs Barot highlighted several causes of action alleged by the applicant against the respondents, including negligence, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of statutory duty, money laundering, and fraud. She emphasized the importance of the requested documents in determining the respondents’ authority to open and operate accounts in the applicant’s name and the legitimacy of the various transactions. 

Court delivers ruling on the application 

After considering the submissions from both parties, Justice Ssekaana Musa ruled in favour of the applicant. The court held that the requested documents were relevant to the main suit and necessary for a fair resolution of the dispute. However, the court also acknowledged that some of the requested documents lacked specificity and cautioned against engaging in a fishing expedition.

In the application Justice Ssekaana order that:-

(a) The loan transaction and loan account origination, negotiation, approval, processing, key facts documents, management, and closure in respect of the following accounts:

I. Loan accounts No. 1059906732 with the 2nd respondent and loan account number 215022605732 with the 1st respondent

II. US dollar current account No. 22900351628 in the applicant’s name opened by the 1st respondent.

III. USD Account Number 2201449317 in the applicant’s name with the 1st respondent

IV. Uganda shillings account number 2201449287 in the applicant’s name with the 1st respondent.

And the costs shall be in the cause.

The ruling underscores the principle that discovery should not be used as a tool for a broad inspection of an adversary’s records but should be specific and consistent with the applicant’s case as pleaded. The court balanced the right to privacy and confidentiality with the need for a fair determination of the case.

The order for discovery signifies a significant development in the legal proceedings, allowing the applicant to obtain crucial documents that may shed light on the alleged breach of fiduciary duty and other claims. The case will now proceed with the production and examination of the requested documents, bringing the parties closer to a resolution.


Women Unite To Claim Their Seat In Energy Sector

A network of women working in the energy and extractives sector has been launched by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa, to promote gender equity and diversity in the sector.

The newly created Women in Energy and Extractives Network (WEEN) seeks to empower women who are underrepresented in the industry and often face challenges in accessing opportunities and resources.

The promoters of WEEN say it has been established to support the advancement and empowerment of women in the sector.

The network's objectives include strengthening women's networks in the energy and extractives sector, elevating women's profile in the industry, enhancing participation of women in the sector, fostering female leadership, and advocating for gender integration in energy and extractives policies and programs at national, regional, and global levels.

The categories of membership in WEEN include Corporate Memberships, Enterprise Memberships, Associate Memberships, and Student Memberships.

The network will undertake activities such as launch events, networking events, mentorship and coaching, capacity building, and advocacy to achieve its objectives.

The WEEN will organize training and capacity-building sessions to enhance the skills and knowledge of women in the sector, cover leadership, negotiation, and technical skills.

"The Women in Energy and Extractives Network is a crucial initiative that will enable us to empower and support women in the sector. The lack of women's representation in energy and extractives has been a challenge, and we believe that through this network, we can bridge this gap and enhance women's participation in the sector," said Eng Irene Pauline Batebe, Chair of Board of Trustees.

Court Orders KCB To Avail Key Documents In Case Filed By Tirupati


The high court (civil division) of Kampala has in a ruling asked KCB Bank (respondents) to provide key documents in a case versus Tirupati Development Ltd (applicants). 

This ruling of miscellaneous application No 0707 of 2022 arises from civil suit No. 15 of 2022. The suit was premised on a loan facility that the applicant obtained from the respondents wherein the plaintiff challenges the breach of fiduciary duty by the respondents.

The applicant brought the current application seeking an order for discovery and production of various documents in the possession of the respondents to support their defenses.

The documents sought by the applicant include those related to the loan transaction and loan account origination, negotiation, approval, processing, key facts documents, management, and closure. Specifically, the applicant requested documents pertaining to the loan accounts, various bank accounts in the applicant’s name, fraud detection policies, investment origination and management, IT policies, cyber security, digital forensics, and money laundering policies since the enactment of the Anti Money Laundering Act in 2013.

"Under Order 10 Rule 12 of the Civil Procedure Rules, any party may, without filing any affidavit, apply to court for an order directing any other party to make discovery on oath of the documents which are or have been in his or her possession or power, relating to any matter in question in the suit," Justice Sekaana writes in his ruling.

The application was supported by an affidavit from Mrs. Kruti Barot, the Managing Director of Tirupati Development (U) Ltd.

Barot, in the main suit, alleges several causes of action against the respondents and these include: negligence, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of statutory duty, money laundering and fraud.

The applicant also contests the manner in which the loan facilities were managed specifically the respondent’s action of creating or opening and operating various accounts in the names of the applicant, without her knowledge or consent and in contravention of the laws in place in Uganda.

The applicant also contended that the documents sought are relevant to the head suit pending.  

And in his ruling, Justice Sekaana ruled that application was successful to the extent that the respondent should avail the requested for documents to the applicant without fail andbalso meet the costs.

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