By Omongole R Anguria
I have read with amazement the desperate and opportunistic attempt by counsel Mbabaali and group to bring down COVIDEX, the herbal medicine invented by professor Ogwang and currently providing great relief to many Ugandans.
First , Mbabaali and group rushed to court and immediately called a press conference on what they thought would be a matter of national concern. Many Ugandans desperate to a solution to the ravaging coronavirus ignored or berated them .
Now, well aware of the rule of subjudice, Mbabali an advocate, comes back in the social media with what he called “ latest on COVIDEX “. Not only did he violate the subjudice rule which doesn’t allow an in-depth discussion of matters in court, he also maliciously distortion the facts and attempts to argue his case in the social media , clearly portraying their intention, cheap popularity!
He alleges that the contract , which am in possession of, states that the outcome of research will be a COVIDEX drug. What a dishonest submission and ill intentioned analysis of the contract.
The truth is that the university submitted a proposal for funding based on already existing products. The three products are listed and include COVIDEX. The research purposes was an evaluation of already existing products Not a research to invent or discover anew! Even the statement he alleges is on page 5 is non-existent in that page ! Shame!
Mbabaali in his write up , with his fertile imagination says the agreement is for “research and develop COVIDEX medicine “ what a-lie! Either he was given an agreement from Nkurumah road or he has a preconceived mission.
The preamble to the genuine agreement gives the purpose as “ preclinical Evaluation of 3 herbal Drug products in Uganda for effects against corona Virus infection “
Clearly the agreement sets out to fund preclinical Evaluation of already existing herbal drugs for their effect on corona. It’s not research with a view of finding a new drug.
The 3 drugs were already listed in page 5 of the proposal that forms part of the agreement as; 1 Jena DS extra, 2. Artemune and 3. COVIDEX. Those 3 herbal drugs existed and are what the university submitted without Jena herbals consent for evaluation.
How could then a proposal to evaluate drugs in existence be seeking to invent COVIDEX when it’s already listed as in existence? Either Mbabaali is trying to use witchcraft to do legal analysis or he’s too biased to see the obvious.
Mbabaali continues in his misplaced rants ; “professor Ogwang as principal investigator can be substituted “ without stating the circumstances and the process.
Under paragraph 5(b) , if the principal investigator realizes that he will be absent for 2 or more month, then he can write to the ministry to notify it on who will be in charge in the remaining period of performance and the ministry in consultation with university would substitute. Clearly Ogwang would only be substituted on his request not any other reason but Mbabaali thinks that an opportunity to replace Ogwang and kill COVIDEX is available in that clause. My prayers are , he’s not the legal advisor to the university.
He then misrepresented Article 6 that it was for and on behalf of people of Uganda. First Article 6 is about Status of the parties and not purpose. It simply shows that the grantee is an independent contractor and not employee of the ministry, that the ministry is acting on behalf of government of Uganda, no where does it say it’s being undertaken on behalf of government of Uganda. The article further states that professor Ogwang is the decision maker regarding all substantial aspects of the project, including budget and personnel. Remember the project was to evaluate already existing drugs on how effective they would be on corona not the distorted version of Mbabaali.
As he struggled to find a case for his hidden interests he say “ article X(b) Mbarara University should account for all the funds”.
The article actually says the grantee shall maintain acceptable financial management systems during the term of the project which includes among others to provide effective control over and accountability for funds , property and other assets. It implied that the university has to show that it has all systems in place to secure funds, property and other assets of the project. Again Mbabaali reads the article upside down and assigns it a different meaning to suit his hidden interests.
In a classical case of a twisted interpretation, Mbabaali says article 19(2) (a) “ that mbarara university shall be the inventor of COVIDEX “ God! When we were young, if one said something bordering on naivety, we would ask “ which school did you go to? “ am tempted to ask Mbabaali that question!
Article 19 deals declaration of IP rights to the ministry prior to the project, that they project will not infringe of existing rights, indemnity to the ministry based on any breach of warranty and specifically (d) that any advertising should acknowledge the support of government of Uganda . No where did it mention MUST shall be inventor of COVIDEX and owner of IP rights!
Article 19(2) allows the government to use the rights “ to the degree that is consistent with Ugandan law previously documented “ but Mbabali reads it to mean to use worldwide the COVIDEX license for free! Aaaah !
He then goes on to “ reveal “ the financial benefits Professor Ogwang allegedly received in what appears to be deliberately misrepresented facts by guilted insider. Mbabaali and his team of what appears to be a mud-smearing-crew go to make speculative observations and attempts to twist the legal position to either bias the public or attempt to mislead the court knowing very well the matters is yet to come up for adjudication in court.
Mbabaali ventures into the AstraZeneca situation in Uk and gives it an Owino market explanation. In his conclusion Mbabali states his dream rather than the concrete facts and even abandons the project agreement that clearly stated the purpose and objective as evaluation of the 3 herbal drugs.
He chooses COVIDEX and states wrongly though, that it was medicine designed to cure corona and be available in hospitals for free or at minimal cost! One needs to study the art of misinformation and misrepresentation to catch up with Mbabaali.
That professor Ogwang with intentions to enrich himself diverted the said COVIDEX! How can one divert what he already owned and invented.
Mbabaali then lists a bag of crimes Professor has allegedly committed which clearly goes to defame the person of professor Ogwang . It’s like accusing one of not paying rent in his own house! You will need the logic of a Shylock to appreciate it from Mbabali’s perspective! For instance “ fraudulent disposal of trust property “ when did Ogwang or any body create a trust over COVIDEX?
All the falsities mentioned by Mbabaali seemed to be figments of his fertile imagination occasioned by total idleness! Hopefully he doesn’t lead anyone to meet the likely prohibitive cost of such a wild goose chase!
The writer, Omongole R Anguria is a lawyer
EDITORIAL NOTE: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect our editorial stance.