Tropical African Bank Ltd v Ali Hajji Abdi (CIVIL SUIT NO 569 OF 2002) [2017] UGCOMMC 29 (13 April 2017);


Headnote and Holding: 

This was an action claiming monies allegedly siphoned from the plaintiff’s bank account with the participation and/or collusion of the defendant; and damages for the defendant’s breach of the fiduciary duty as branch manager. The defendant filed a counterclaim that his continued suspension and dismissal was unlawful. 

The issues for consideration were whether the defendant caused financial loss to the plaintiff; whether the suspension and/or dismissal was lawful; and the available remedies.

Regarding the first issue, the court held that the suit rested on the allegation that the defendant kept 26 cheques. The court held that it was not proved that the defendant kept the cheques beyond the three days alleged by the plaintiff; however the court found that the defendant knew the cheques were kept beyond the three days. As a result, the defendant was jointly liable with a Mr Patrick Kigongo.

On the second issue, the court held that the plaintiff was entitled to suspend the defendant as he was charged with a criminal offence. Management may dismiss an employee who was facing criminal prosecution if their continued employment would prejudice the interests of the bank. However, the defendant was suspended without pay contrary to regulation 30 of the terms and conditions of service; and the termination was without notice of disciplinary action, without a right of defence, and was thus unlawful.

The plaintiff was awarded general damages. The defendant was awarded his full salary from the date of suspension until the date of termination.


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