The High Court Commercial Division in Kampala has ruled that a contract executed via WhatsApp, indicating messages received via the same platform form a contract under the law.
Judge Patricia Kahigi Asiimwe in her decision also ruled that a cell phone is a computer as it generates , sends, receives and stores data messages.
This landmark decision stems from a successful suit filed by Dr Rodney Mugarura against Paramount Hospital Kampala Limited and it’s Director Dr Simon Begumisa.
Dr Mugarura sued the Hospital and its Director accusing them of having failed to pay his professional fees amounting to 41.5 million shillings after he was hired via WhatsApp messages to come and do complicated surgeries.
In his testimony, Dr Mugarura told the Court that in September 2019, Dr Begumisa approached him and introduced himself as the Director of Hospital through a WhatsApp message.
That Begumisa informed Mugarura that the hospital runs many departments including orthopedic surgery and that the hospital works with many surgeons who are given operating rights and the rights to charge their professional fees.
According to the Court records, Mugarura was further informed by Begumisa that they desired to work with him under a similar arrangement.
Records show that the two medical experts met and agreed that Mugarura would be called in whenever his services were required.
It was further agreed that the Mugarura invoices for his professional fees, surgical implants or other services he would provide in the process of attending to the patients.
However Dr Mugarura says despite several remainders and demands, the hospital and its Director have failed to pay him for the services rendered to them.
After looking at the messages shared on WhatsApp, the Judge ruled that the said messages indicate that there was an offer made, which was accepted, and that the services were provided, meaning that there was a contract.
As a consequence, the Judge ordered the Hospital to pay Dr Mugarura 41.5 million shillings with an interest of 20 percent from the year he filed his case in 2021 up to when the hospital pays him in full.
Report by : Betty Zziwa