Ham and DTB are in court
The Shs120 billion fraud case involving businessman Hamis Kiggundu of Ham Enterprises and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), has taken a new twist after the businessman petitioned the Chief Justice to intervene in his case.
In the October 13 letter to the Chief Justice, Mr Kiguddu through his lawyers of Muwema together with Kimara Advocates, has asked the Chief Justice to intervene in his case in which he says the Principle Judge has picked a suspicious interest.
“We seek your urgent intervention as head of the judiciary in Uganda to issue such orders and directions necessary for the proper and efficient management of our client’s case as you may please,” the letter reads in part.
The letter followed a court order that was issued by the Principal Judge Flavian Zeija Tuesday blocking the execution of Commercial Court orders in which Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) was told to refund Shs34b and $23.2m (Shs86b) which they allegedly deducted from Ham Enterprises’ accounts.
Mr Kigunddu states that on October 7, 2020 Justice Henry Adonyo of the Commercial Court delivered a ruling striking out the bank’s statement of defence and entered judgment in his favour upon the reliefs he sought.
He explains that the bank filed a notice of appeal and a letter requesting for proceedings which was served on to them on Monday and also an interim and main order for stay of execution of the decree which was slated to be heard on Wednesday at Commercial Court.
“However the hearing of the interim order application did not take place because we learnt from the Commercial Court that the Principal Judge had called for the file. We wish to state that as counsel acting in this case, the office of the Principal Judge has not favoured us with any official correspondence indicating its actions to be taken in our clients matter,” the letter reads in
“Whereas the Principal Judge as head of the High Court can call for any file in the High Court pursuant to his administrative functions under Article 141 of the Constitution, those powers cannot be understood to extend to the exhibition of continuous interest in one file to the extent of calling for it and interfering with its hearing whenever any proceeding in the case upsets or is likely to upset the defendants,” it further states.
Mr Kigunddu’s lawyers listed some of the instances where his file has been called; calling for the file and summoning the deputy registrar Dr Agnes Nkonge during the hearing of a temporary injunction.
He further noted that the file was also called on July 9, after lawyers of the bank complained about the allocation of the file to Justice Duncan Gaswaga who was hearing his appeal against the order of payment of 30 per cent.
“The principal judge has again called for the file and we have reason to believe that this has been done again at the prompting of the defendants who are unhappy with the recent ruling of the court,” reads the letter.
“We question why the Principal Judge who is not an allocated judge sitting in the judgment of our clients case should take away his file at a time when the defendants are seeking an interim order to stay execution of orders he neither issued nor can stay in law,” the letter further reads.
The interim order that was issued by the principal judge will be in place until the main application for stay of the execution orders is determined.
“It is hereby ordered that an interim order for stay of execution of the decree in the High Court Civil Suit number 43/2020 doth issue pending the determination of the main application for stay of execution,” the interim order issued on Tuesday reads in part.
This means that Ham Enterprises cannot commence the recovery process of the aforementioned money from the bank as earlier ordered by the head of the Commercial Court, Justice Adonyo.