May 7, 2013

Government Sued Over “Defective” Condoms

Joseph Sseremba, a resident of Kampala has petitioned High court to blacklist five brands of condoms from three Asian countries saying they are defective and endanger human life. In his petition, in which he jointly sues government and United Nations Population Fund, Sseremba argues that the affected condom brands were fraudulently imported into the country.

UNFPA has been sued in its capacity as a procurement agent. The condom brands include those manufactured by Guilin Latex Factory, Quingdao Double Butterfly Group Company Limited, Tianjin Human Care Latex Corporation, all from China, Karex Industries from Malyasia and Indus Medi Care Limited from India.

Sseremba contends that these particular condom brands do not meet the standards set by Uganda National Bureau of Standards-UNBS. Through Lukwago and Company Advocates, Seremba is demanding that Government withdraws the condoms from public distribution and destroys them together with those still kept in its stores and health facilities.

He also wants their importation banned. Additionally, he wants court to compel UNFPA to refund the money used to purchase the condoms. Sseremba says the defects of the condoms it is manifested in both the packaging and their use.

He claims that the condoms degrade when not appropriately packed. He asserts that this has put lives of several Ugandans at risk of infection of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Sseremba argues that the rising HIV infection rate is greatly affecting national economic growth and causing financial constraints to Government and other stakeholders. He faults the Health ministry for failing to condemn the condoms and UNBS for failing its statutory duty of regulating the standard of condoms imported in the country.

Court has asked the Attorney General and UNFPA to file their defense within 15 days. The case has been allocated to Justice Benjamin Kabiito. However, a hearing date is yet to be scheduled.

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