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Uganda Funeral Services ordered to pay motorist Shs 261m

Uganda Funeral Services vehicles. Source: UFS Facebook

Uganda Funeral Services vehicles. Source: UFS Facebook

Uganda Funeral Services (UFS) has been ordered by the High court to pay over Shs 261 million in compensation to a motorist whose vehicle they knocked last year.

Hirani Kanji filed a case after he was knocked by a vehicle, registration number UAY 513Y, belonging to UFS. Kanji said that he was knocked when driving his vehicle, registration number, UEC 289N, and as a result, it got damaged and he also sustained severe and life-threatening injuries.

Kanji, through his lawyer Isaac Walukagga, submitted before the court proof of ownership evidence of registration of the motor vehicle in the name of Uganda Funeral Services and a letter from police confirming that it was involved in an accident after a careful examination of the CCTV cameras.

He noted that UFS was notified of the accident but opted not to disclose who the driver was at the time of the accident. According to Kanji,  there was negligence on the side of the undisclosed driver and the company which was fully aware of his claim and has to date never indicated that the vehicle was stolen or being driven by an unauthorized person.

He asked court to find UFS liable for negligence and sought compensation of Shs 300 million, saying he had been inconvenienced for long and had spent more than Shs 40 million on treatment.

Justice Musa Ssekaana indicated that UFS did not make any specific answer to the allegations levied against them but rather made technical denials saying that the case does not disclose any cause of action.

UFS argued that they cannot be held liable for the actions of an employee whose particulars were not indicated and that Kanji also did not attach any proof of the medical facility where he went to treat the injuries he suffered.

UFS lawyer Badru Bwango also argued that he did not attach any proof of medical documents to show the injuries suffered, if any, and therefore his case is an abuse of the court process. In his judgment, Ssekaana said that the UFS driver was reckless on the road yet he didn't have the right of way.

"The driver was driving on the right side of the road as opposed to the left and he drove recklessly in total disregard of other road users. He failed to brake and drove the vehicle as an ambulance whereas it was not. The defendant’s vehicle did not have a right of way to be driven on the opposite side of the road," said Ssekaana.

He added that the vehicle had no right of way and there was no justification to drive in the opposite direction with no siren or warnings to the other road users that expected no traffic from the opposite direction.

According to Ssekaana, he was satisfied with the video clip that was presented before court. He says that it is clear that the driver of the UFS vehicle was on the wrong side and took no bother at all to protect other road users and after the accident immediately sped off.

"In the circumstances of this case, it is clear that the defendant (Uganda Funeral Services) tried to deny liability and avoided any contact with the plaintiff or to render any assistance in spite of the glaring evidence of the accident. They ignored or refused to give any medical care or financial support to mitigate the damage," added Ssekaana.

Ssekaana awarded Kanji Shs 100 million as general damages and Shs 161,456,000 as compensation for special damages.

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