The High Court has ordered three banks; Stanbic Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank to remove shs 450 million and pay it to Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Judiciary, Pius Bigirimana.
The garnishee order absolute was delivered by deputy High Court registrar Jamson Karemani on Monday afternoon.
The shs 450 million arises from the High Court judgement made by Judge Musa Sekana who last year directed the newspaper to compensate Bigirimana after Daily Monitor lost a defamation case.
The aggrieved filed a civil suit in 2017 demanding shs 1 billion in damages telling Court that between 2012 and 2015 Daily Monitor had published a series of articles portraying as ‘dirty’ civil servant.
He said the articles damaged his reputation, credibility and integrity before the public.
The newspaper appealed the High Court decision but lost twice.
The newspaper had late last month, through its attorneys sought an interim order seeking to stay execution of the decree and all orders of the Appeal no 170 of 2022 pending disposal of the of the substantive application.
In the Appeal (number 170) two Justices of the Appellate Court directed Daily Monitor newspaper to pay Pius Bigirimana, a total sum of shs 450 million as compensatory damages for defaming him in a series of articles published on several dates between 2012 and 2015.
Bigirimana at a time served as Permanent Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister before he moved to Gender Ministry in the same capacity.
The judgment delivered on January 5, 2023 by Deputy Registrar followed an appeal by Daily Monitor challenging the judgement of the High Court by judge Musa Ssekana which he delivered on December 10, 2021.
Judge Ssekana awarded costs to Bigirimana worth shs 450 million in a lawsuit where the PS demanded shs.1 billion of general damages to defamation and exemplary damages of Shs.900 million.
In addition he sought an order compelling the defendants to publish an apology in the said newspapers and online news channel and a permanent injunction restraining the defendants and their agents, editors and publishers from making, publishing and circulating any further defamatory stories him.
The said publications have since been injurious to the person of Mr.Bigirimana.
Court of Appeal agreed with Judge Ssekana that the right to reputation is acknowledged as an inherent personal right of every person.
In major judgement of Court of Appeal, Lady Justice Elizabeth Musoke ruled that the statements by Daily Monitor are deemed to be bonafide until a Court finds them to be defamatory.
“The claim in that case concerned one defamatory publication while the present case concerns 15 different defamatory publications, published over a space of 3 years. The sum of Ug. shs. 350,000,000/= was therefore adequate and I would maintain it. I would not enhance the amount awarded as in my view, the sum is substantial enough to vindicate the respondent’s damaged reputation. I would also not interfere with the award of Ug. shs. 100,000,000/= exemplary damages,” she said.
High Court’s fresh ruling says that Pius Bigirimana was the successful party in civil suit no.0612 of 2017 before this court.
“An appeal was preferred from the decree of this court to the court of Appeal. The court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
The respondents filed an application for stay of execution and interim stay of execution which was dismissed.
“The applicant filed this application by way of notice of motion under Order 23 Rule 1, Order 52 Rules 1,2 and 3 of the Civil Procedure Rules, Sections 64 and 98 of the Civil Procedure Act for execution by way of garnishee proceedings.
The applicant sought to attach monies owing and accruing from the garnishees to the 1st judgment debtor on various accounts.
A garnishee nisi was granted by this court and the garnishees were directed to appear before court to show cause why the garnishee nisi should not be made absolute.
In the meantime, the judgment debtors were served with same order as well.
The 1st judgment debtor and all the three garnishees attended the proceedings It was found out during the proceedings that the 2nd garnishee had enough funds to satisfy the decree and hence the 1St and 2′ garnishees were discharged.”
At the time of issuing this judgment Daily Monitor legal officers had made a gamble to misinform the public that they had appealed the lower court’s’ rulings to the Supreme Court which was false and aimed at misleading the public.