The High Court has ordered the Red Pepper newspaper to pay Shs430million to retired Chief Justice, Samuel William Wako Wambuzi.
This is after the publications lost a case in which he had sought general and exemplary damages for libel, and for a permanent injunction and costs of the suit.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Patricia Basaza Wasswa, she ordered: “the Defendant (Red Pepper) shall pay to the Plaintiff (Justice Wambuzi) general damages for libel in the sum of UGX.375M/=”, reads the ruling. She further orders that Red Pepper pay extra Shs50million as exemplary damages.
“The Defendants shall pay interest on the sums awarded to the Plaintiff under (1) and (2) above at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of this judgment to the date that payment is made in full.”
A permanent injunction restraining Red Pepper or their agents from further publishing similar defamatory statements was also granted. Justice Wambuzi was also awarded costs of the suit.
Wambuzi took Red Pepper to court in 2015 over its story titled ‘Exposed! 100 most indebted personalities revealed’.
Wambuzi was one of the 100 personalities/tycoons who the publication alleged was struggling to pay off a business loan of Shs10bn that he obtained from a financial institution to pump into his GreenHill Academy, a posh city school.
According to Wambuzi, the wordings in the story meant that in common with the 100 other people that the newspaper was to serialize, he is extravagant as he lives beyond his means and finances, and depends on borrowing from financial institutions.
In his application Wambuzi stated that he had had a 40-year distinguished career in the judiciary and also served as Chief Justice on three occasions before retiring honourably.
He was represented by lawyers of Masembe, Makubuya, Adriko, Karugaba & Ssekatawa Advocates (MMAKS Advocates).