TASO sues Church of Uganda over Aids funds

TASO sues Church of Uganda over Aids funds
The Church implemented Global Fund project on behalf of TASO

The Aids Support Organization (TASO) has sued the registered trustees of Church of Uganda (CoU) for alleged breach of the memorandum of understanding.

Through M/S Nagawa Associated Advocates, TASO contends that it entered into an MoU with Church of Uganda in 2013 for the implementation of the Global Fund round 10 malaria and health systems strengthening grant activities.

According to Nagawa, their client extended Shs 2,577,019,954 (Shs 2.57bn) to CoU. Of this, Shs 1,191,710,450 (Shs 1.19bn) was meant for health systems strengthening grant activities, Shs 1,156,783,904 (Shs 1.1bn) for malaria activities and Shs 228 million for overhead costs.

The program was scheduled to run from the date of execution in 2013 until April 30, 2014. According to documents before the High court, CoU was supposed to ensure prudent management and utilisation of the funds solely for purposes consistent with the terms of the agreement but it acted to the contrary when it misdirected and diverted the funds.

The documents also show that various audits were conducted, which revealed that CoU had incurred ineligible expenses, some of which resulted from reallocation of funds without seeking prior express written permission of the TASO executive director, contrary to the MoU.

“That having conducted various audit reviews, it was concluded that indeed the defendant (CoU) incurred ineligible expenses amounting to $31,482,” reads the application before court.

Adding that; “Indeed the defendant admitted to the fact that it had incurred ineligible expenses and on several occasions communicated its willingness to refund the ineligible expenses but none has been refunded to date.”

M/S Nagawa further notes that TASO has since August 2017 demanded for a refund of $31,482 or its equivalent in Uganda shillings as per the ongoing Bank of Uganda exchange rates but its requests and demands have remained futile.

TASO now wants CoU to refund the money in addition to general and punitive damages as well as the costs of the suit.

Court is yet to summon CoU to respond to the suit before setting a date for hearing the matter. This is not the first time CoU is running trouble over financial matters.

In February, Land Coin Limited dragged CoU to the Commercial court for failing to pay more than Shs 7 billion for offer consultation services to help the church recover its land in Entebbe. Court referred the matter for arbitration.