KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) Wednesday issued an Investment license and five acres of land in Soroti Industrial Park to enable Prof. Patrick Ogwang to set up a Jena Herbals Ltd-factory.
This came as an advocacy group headed by former Lubaga North MP Moses Kasibante, the Advocates for People(AFP) presented more documents stressing Prof Ogwang was acting illegally to produce covidex on his own instead of it being a government property.
“Our focus is on supporting local investors. We believe that our country can be built by ourselves,” said state minister Anite Evelyn as she handed over the license to Jena Herbals Ltd.
Jena Herbals Ltd-factory are the producers of COVIDEX, recently approved by Uganda’s drug authority, as a remedy in the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.
Prof. Patrick Ogwang and his team met top officials of UIA to discuss the pathogenic economy and how the government can help champion and support local scientists and innovators.
But the lawyer for the AFP Jude Mbabali said that inline with his group’s objectives to promote respect for human rights, constitutionalism, rule of law and good governance in Uganda said that they will pursue Ogwang to seek redress in court of law for social good.
“AFP took this matter to court in public interest to seek for a court declaration that the ownership and rights to the patent of Covidex Medicine belong to Mbarara University of Science and Technology and not Jena Herbals Uganda Ltd,” Mbabali said in a statemnt on Wednesday.
He said that Mbarara University through government funding should be let to massively produce the medicine and make it available free of charge in government hospitals to cure Ugandans instead of Ugandans buying it at an exorbitant fee of Ug. Shs. 105,000 per dose.
Mbabali said they are pursuing Ogwang through the Industrial Properties Act that dictates that once an employer gets to know that their employee has innovated something and they take no step to have it registered as the employer’s innovation within a year after the innovation, they forfeit that right.
“So if AFP doesn’t act now and wait as people seem to suggest they shall find ourselves caught up by the said time limitation,” Mbabali said.
He accused Professor Ogwang for acting with intentions to enrich himself, diverting Covidex medicine whose development was funded by taxpayers’ money to his private Company for self aggrandizement.
Now, AFP says that Ogwang committed offenses of Corruption, Diversion of public resources, Influence peddling, Conflict of interest, Cause loss of public property, Abuse of office, False assumption of authority, Embezzlement, Causing financial loss, Fraudulent disposal of trust property, False accounting by public officer, Fraudulent false accounting, and False claims by public official.
The group says that government provided Shs283m to Mbarara university which was borrowed from the World Bank to enable Mbarara university carry out research that later resulted into covidex.
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