The commercial division court in Kampala has dismissed with costs an application filed by businessman Patrick Bitature in which he sought to block the auctioning of his properties in Uganda to recover the $34 million loan debt he owes a South African firm (Vantage Mezzanine Fund).
Earlier this month, Bitature, through his lawyers Muwema and Co. Advocates, sued Vantage’s legal advisors, Robert Kirunda, Noah Shamah Wasige, Festus Kateregga, and Commissioner Land Registration, in a bid to block the sale of his properties.
In the ruling dated June 15, Justice Stephen Mubiru, who heads the Commercial Division, said it was unfortunate that Simba Properties (owned by Bitature) sued Counsel Robert Kirunda, Counsel Noah Shamah Wasige of Kirunda and Wasige Advocates, and Bailiff Festus Katerega of Quick Way Auctioneers and Court Bailiff in their individual capacity, yet they were representing a known entity (Vantage) when they advertised their properties for auction in the newspapers.
“There were no serious questions of law and fact to be tried by this court to justify the grant of a temporary injunction. The application was thus dismissed with costs to the respondents and the underlying suit was struck out with costs to the defendants,” Justice Mubiru ruled.
He added; “This court has on two occasions already declared that it will not exercise jurisdiction over the matter in light of the submission to arbitration that is valid, binding, operative, and enforceable.” I found it unnecessary in the circumstances to consider the rest of the criteria for the grant of a temporary injunction.”
Following this court decision, Bitature stands on the verge of losing up to seven of his very prime properties listed by Vantage Mezzanine Fund for sale, which among others include; Elizabeth Apartments at Kololo in Kampala, Protea Hotel-Naguru (Sky’s Hotel) in Kampala, and Moyo Close Apartments, Kololo Gardens in Kampala.
For starters, about eight years ago, Vantage Mezzanine extended a credit facility believed to be about $10m to Simba Properties Ltd, among other companies owned by Bitature.
However, Bitature and his companies were dragging their feet on clearing the loan, compelling Vantage to begin a process to auction some of the tycoon’s properties.