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URC Sues Chinese Firm Over Theft, Vandalism Of Railway Materials

Uganda Railways Corporation-URC has sued Chinese firm Tian Tang Group Limited for alleged theft and vandalism of railway materials valued at Shillings 12 billion. URC accuses Tian Tang Group Limited of destroying 14 tons of railway materials recovered from the Chinese factory in Mbalala in Mukono District.

Evidence before the court indicates that Uganda Railways Corporation, which is in charge of maintaining all railway infrastructure, installations, locomotives and equipment on behalf of the sovereign republic of Uganda and in trust of her citizens faced the challenges of vandalism on a number of occasions.

“Following a tip-off and a court sanctioned search of the defendant’s/Tian Tang premises at Mbalala Mukono conducted by the Uganda Police, 14 tons of the plaintiff’s railway materials/equipment were recovered at the Defendant’s aforesaid premises and in a state where they were not re-usable neither could they be reinstalled by the plaintiff thereby occasioning the plaintiff colossal financial loss” reads the suit.

On March 29th 2021, Mukono Grade Two Magistrate, Steven Waidhuuba issued an order to search the premises of Tian Tang for rail sleepers, steel rails and Kyaci materials. The search was witnessed by Uganda Railway Corporation and security officials led by Captain Henry Mawejje and Superintendent of Police, Agnes Agabirwe.

According to Uganda Railway Corporation, Tian Tang had converted some of the materials to different uses from the purpose for, which they ordinarily procured them.

“The plaintiff shall aver and contend that all of the said actions of the defendant were illegal, callous, criminal, detrimental to a public good railway works infrastructure, and in most material particular, the defendant facilitated vandalism of the plaintiff’s railway installations/equipment/materials by providing a black market for the same reason of which the plaintiff shall propose to the court that the defendant be condemned to punitive damages”, the suit adds.

Uganda Railway Corporation argues that the actions of the Chinese Company amounted to an actionable conversion purposed to permanently dispose of it of its property.

Through their lawyers, Engoru, Mutebi Advocates, the applicants want the court to order Tian Tang to pay Shillings 11 .4 billion for the replacement of the rail material and value as well as compensation, Shillings 150 million as cost of reinstatement and Shillings 400 million as cost of freight, insurance, procurement and other related costs.

The High Court Civil Division Registrar, Jamson Karemani has already issued summons to Tian Tang Group Limited to defend itself within 15 days.

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