On Thursday, Justice Stephen Mubiru, the Head of the High Court Commercial Division dismissed with costs two applications filed by Equity bank Uganda Ltd, Meera Investments Ltd, Luwaluwa Investments and Katende Ssempebwa and Company Advocate seeking stay of the proceedings challenging the process followed during the selling and buying of multibillion properties belonging to city businessman Peter Kamya.
Kamya, through his lawyers led by commercial law giant Ebert Byenkya filed an application for discovery of e-mails and bank accounts of the defendants insisting that they are very crucial in prosecuting their matter and will help Court to deliver a fair decision which the defendants strongly objected to.
In his affidavit to support his application, Kamya told Court that he received detailed information from a whistleblower that there was a lot of syndicate and communication between the defendants which resulted into a bribe of USD1.8million exchanging hands to defraud the system so that he loses his Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue Kampala which was sold to Meera Investments Limited and his Afrique Suits on Mutungo hill which was sold to Luwaluwa Investments limited by Equity bank.
Kamya claims that Ronald Luwangula, the proprietor of Luwaluwa Investment connived with lawyers and Equity bank officials to defraud the process.
He detailed that Luwangula borrowed money from equity bank under the guise of shipping his goods which were stuck in Japan.
But when the bank gave him the money, he sold his building in Wandegeya and added the money onto the bank loan and ended up buying his Afrique Suits.
He added that the lawyers masterminded the entire fraud by illegally advising Sudhir to transfer his Simbamanyo building in minutes after signing purchase agreement with equity bank and the transaction was done during 2020 Covid-19 Lockdown.
Byenkya based his case on a Supreme Court judgment which states that whenever there is any fraud in the process a transaction, the entire transaction is declared illegal.
The defendants rubbished the plaintiff’s case insisting that he failed to service his USD10 million debt that resulted in auctioning his properties which he used as security.
Sources at the Commercial Court told theGrapevine that the defendants petitioned Justice Rubby Aweri Opio, the Chief Inspector of Courts after Justice Mubiru took almost two months without hearing their two applications to appeal in the Court of Appeal challenging his rulings against them.
The defendants accused Justice Mubiru of being biased and not following the Civil procedures and rules when presiding over the controversial case.
A source revealed that one of the senior lawyers at Katende Ssempebwa and Company Advocates stormed Justice Mubiru’s chambers pleading with him to allow them to proceed with their appeal.
“You know that senior lawyer thought that because he was Justice Mubiru’s teacher at the law school (Makerere University) and at the Law Development Center, he will use that background to convince him but the man stood his ground and refused to allow them to appeal against his ruling,” a source said.
He added that the senior lawyer was very bitter with Justice Mubiru and threatened him that he will soon be forced out of the Commercial Court the way Justice Henry Adonya left after his controversial judgement in Shs.200bn case between Diamond Trust Bank and city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu the proprietor of Ham Enterprises Limited.
Sources explained that before petitioning Justice Aweri, lawyers petitioned other top judicial officers to intervene in the matter and a number of phone calls were made to Justice Mubiru to change his mind but like Justice Esther Kisakye of the Supreme Court, Justice Mubiru stubbornly responded to his superiors that he swore before the president to deliver justice to all Ugandans without fear or favor.
The respondents claimed that Kamya’s application was only based on hearsay and if Justice Mubiru’s ruling is not overturned by the Court of Appeal, it will set precedence that any person can come up with a frivolous suit without any evidence of any crime committed demanding to inspect and see another person’s financial statements and other personal records.
They added that the ruling is very risky to the banking industry and customer’s confidentiality which has to be protected.
One of the lawyers of the respondents revealed to theGrapevine that there is a lawyer who has been representing Sudhir who leaked vital information to counsel Fred Muwema, one of Kamya’s lawyers.
And the reason why Kamya’s lawyers are insisting on the emails is because they are sure that whatever the e-mails and bank accounts will reveal, will end the entire case because the whole fraud that led to the execution of the transactions in which their client lost his properties is buried there.
On 19th September 2022, Justice Aweri wrote to Justice Mubiru directing him to forward the entire Simbamanyo file to him to investigate a number of allegations put against him on the way he presiding the matter.
“Under Section 9 and 11 of the Administration of the Judiciary Act of 2020, I am writing to immediately call for the entire file and all other applications arising thereunder for our perusal as a matter of urgency,” Justice Aweri’s letter read in parts.
However, when the matter came up for further hearing, Sim Katende, the lawyer who was in the middle of the entire transaction asked for an adjournment citing Justice Aweri’s letter and noting that their matter is under investigation that is why they cannot proceed which Justice Mubiru rubbished.
A bitter exchange of words ensued between Justice Mubiru and counsel Katende who threatened to drag the latter to the law council and petition the American Law Council where Katende is a member over his unprofessional and undermining character.
Katende openly told Justice Mubiru that he is too late to do so because he cannot keep quiet when Courts are doing illegalities.
In his remarks on Justice Aweri’s letter, Justice Mubiru stated,” If I am to adjourn a case because of an administrative letter, what will I be doing?”
He insisted that he will not be bound by Justice Aweri’s letter and promised to proceed with the matter to its conclusion.
Kamya petitioned president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over the fraudulent sell of his properties and the president directed the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Bank of Uganda to investigate the matter.
It was established that his properties were legally sold and he was advised to contest the transaction in Courts of law.
By Sengooba Alirabaki