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Digital Age: Promoting Confidence in Electronic Contracts in Uganda

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on all our lives. The requirement to practice social distancing and the restriction on public gatherings mean we are no longer able to hold face to face meetings in the usual way.

Many people are working from home and may don’t have access to printed documents. Others may prefer to avoid exchanging hard copy documentation in person as part of a responsible social distancing regime.

Electronic contracts and signatures are the most appropriate way to keep business going without unnecessary delays whilst adhering to Ministry of Health public health guidelines on social distancing.

The good news is, the Electronic Transactions Act, 2011 and the Electronic Signatures Act, 2011 are already in place to facilitate this new normal. Here are some legal requirements under the said laws that everyone transacting electronically must know.

Is the Electronic Transactions Act applicable to all transactions?

Even if parties agree to conduct business transactions electronically, some documents are excluded from application of the Electronic Transactions Act.

The Act states that it does not apply to certain documents, including wills, trusts, power of attorney, documents that create or transfer an interest in property and require registration to be effective against third parties.

The Act was amended in 2018 and some of the restrictions were relaxed, such as, exclusion of negotiable instruments, for example, cheques from their applicability under the Act. This paved way for use of cheque truncation.

Cheque truncation reduces or eliminates the physical movement of paper cheques and reduces the time and cost of cheque clearance.

Do contracts that are signed by the parties in hard copy, scanned and sent electronically to the other party have the force of law?

Yes, unless the parties have expressly excluded this possibility in advance, or the nature of the contract is one which falls within the category of excluded contracts highlighted above.

The Electronic Transactions Act promotes the enforceability of electronic contracts by giving them the same force of law as ordinary contracts concluded by the parties in each other’s presence. In that vein, the Act provides for “legal equivalence” between ordinary (physical) contracts and electronic contracts.

This brings us to the related matter of the signing of contracts. Does a scanned signature affixed to an electronic document or a scanned copy of a contract signed in wet ink and sent over by e-mail to the counter-party suffice?

Yes, the Electronic Signatures Act, 2011 comes into play.

The Electronic Signatures Act gives recognition to all forms of electronic signatures, including scanned signatures. As a core principle, it stipulates that an electronic signature, irrespective of its type, should not be denied legal effect (i.e. as a manifestation of the signatory’s consent) and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in electronic form.

On the strength of that legal basis, such forms of signatures would thus suffice to give the contract being signed the legal validity of consent. The responsibility to determine the type of electronic signature to use given the complexity or value of the matter lies with the parties. The law allows for this flexibility.

What is an electronic signature?

An electronic signature is defined under the Electronic Signatures Act, 2011 as “data in electronic form affixed to or logically associated with a data message, which may be used to identify a signatory or indicate his/her approval of the information contained in the data message”.

In simple terms, it is a legal way to get consent or approval on electronic documents or forms.

What are some of the examples of electronic signatures?

A number of electronic signature techniques have been developed over the years. These include those based on the:

  • knowledge of the user [e.g. passwords, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)];
  • physical features of the user (e.g. biometrics) – used to identify an individual through his or her intrinsic physical or behavioural traits, such as, fingerprints, iris, hand or facial geometry, handwriting or typing patterns;
  • possession of an object by the user (e.g. codes or other information stored on a magnetic card); and those not based on any of the above: –
  • scanned signatures or a name typed at the bottom of an electronic communication, such as, an e-mail; and
  • signatures relying on public key cryptography.

But how could you be sure that the person who signed a contract electronically is the person whose name is on the signature block?

The Electronic Signatures Act, 2011 stipulates that electronic signatures can be verified or authenticated through application of a method previously agreed upon by the person signing and the recipient of the signed document.

The verification method is usually provided by the respective electronic signature providers in the market.

It is advisable that a fully signed electronic contract is maintained as a record just as it would for a paper contract with wet signatures. Further, it is advisable that any person seeking to conclude a contract electronically, should have a contract execution policy that expressly provides for electronic contracts and electronic signatures.

 

Baker Birikujja is an advocate at the National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U)



Source – chimpreports.com

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Just in: Chad President Edriss Deby Killed By Rebels While Visiting Soldiers on Front-line

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Chad President Idriss Déby has been killed, the national army confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

According to a confirmation from the national army of Chad read on national radio, the newly re-elected President Idriss Déby has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north.

In a swift change of fate, after news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term in the latest provisional results in on Monday by 79.3%, an announcement broadcast  on national radio today has announced his death.

According to the army spokesperson, Général Azem Bemrandoua Agouna, the military had been pushed back by a column of insurgents who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena.

Déby, was expected to give a victory speech after receiving the provisional results, but opted instead to visit Chadian solidears on the front lines, said his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada.

 

The post Just in: Chad President Edriss Deby Killed By Rebels While Visiting Soldiers on Front-line first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Uganda Commends Japan for Support to Refugees

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Government has applauded Japan for its generous support towards the refugee communities in Uganda.

This year, Japan contributed to Uganda, $9.8 million (approximately 36 billion shillings) which according to the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Hidemoto Fakuzawa, is aimed at mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic to the vulnerable population, including; refugees, host community members among others.

Over the years, Japan has made various contributions to Uganda to address the emerging issues ranging from refugees, infrastructure, health among others.

From 2016 to 2020, Japan contributed approximately 35 million dollars (127 billion shillings) to the Government of Uganda by utilizing the supplementary budget to provide humanitarian support and emergency response.

Speaking to reporters at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday, Amb Fukuzawa said, “This year, the Government of Japan decided to make a new contribution of about of approximately 9.8 million dollars (approximately 36 billion shillings) to Uganda.”

The contribution was through 8 agencies, namely; United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), UNFPA, UN Women, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, IOM and IFPRI.

“Japan recognizes that the humanitarian situation in refugee hosting areas is devastating, especially under the spread Of COVID-19,” said Amb Fukuzawa.

The 2021 contribution, Amb Fukuzawa said, has been made with specific focus on mitigating the impacts of the Covid-19 to the vulnerable population, including; refugees, host community members, women and children in Uganda.

Uganda is one of the biggest refugee hosting countries in the world, and has an open door policy for refugees.

Regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Amb Fukuzawa pledged Japan’s support to Uganda to fight the deadly disease that has claimed millions of lives globally.

“Japan will always be by your side and support the Government of Uganda as a member of the international community,” he said.

In 2020, Japan contributed 1.4 million dollars through UNICEF and 3.8 million dollars through the Ministry of Health to provide emergency assistance for prevention of further spread of the covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Japan has continued to support Uganda in the field of social – economic development especially in northern Uganda.

 

On February 11, 2021, Amb Fukuzawa signed a bilateral agreement on behalf of Government of Japan in form of exchange of notes with Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija for the project to improve National Roads in refugee hosting areas of West Nile sub region.

By providing a grant of approximately 36.8 million dollars to the Uganda Government, Amb Fukuzawa said that Japan “is hoping to contribute to stabilization of the society and promotion of sustainable economic growth in northern Uganda.

The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hilary Onek applauded Japanese Government for the “generosity exhibited towards the refugee community.”

“The Government of Uganda commends the Government of Japan for their tireless efforts and support to Uganda, indeed Japan will always remain a true partner to Uganda,” he said.

As of March 2020, Uganda refugee population is at 1,470,858 individuals, and is on the rise.

“Our numbers continue to grow even with the restrictions on registration of new arrivals because of new birth registration and registration of persons who arrived before the lockdown in March 2020, that had since resumed in most settlements especially in West Nile,” said Onek.

The post Uganda Commends Japan for Support to Refugees first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Chad President Idriss Deby has died: Army spokesman | Chad News

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President Idriss Deby, who won a 6th term on Monday, has died of injuries suffered on the frontline, an army spokesman said.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby has died of injuries suffered on the frontline where he had gone to visit soldiers battling rebels, an army spokesman said on Tuesday.

The news came a day after Deby won a sixth term, as per provisional election results released on Monday.

The 68-year-old Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, took 79.3 percent of the vote in the April 11 presidential election, the results showed.

More soon.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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