In what may be likened to a scene in an opera soap, the High Court in Mukono is in the spotlight for issuing a garnishee order against Bank of Africa in which one of the applicant’s lawyers is proved to have died three years ago.
The bizarre saga results from an arbitral award of Uganda shillings 24,964700 ( twenty four million, nine hundred sixty four thousand seven hundred) to a one Asiimwe Issa against Makoba Juma before a one Mugabe Simon as an Advocate.
In May 2018, Asiimwe and Makoba had resolved for an out of court settlement in a case where the latter owed the former a sum of 24,964700 Ugshs.
When Makoba failed to honour the agreement, Asiimwe reportedly sought court to help him recover the debt.
On 20 August 2018, a garnishee order was issued by the High Court of Mukono where Bank of Africa was ordered to attach a sum of 24,964700shillings from Makoba’s Account as a way of enforcing debt payment.
The court order sent to the bank however contained some glaring irregularities, prompting the financial institution to write to court on 24th August 2018 for clarification since the document issued was highly questionable.
Among the issues the bank sought to be clearly addressed were; the order didn’t quote an execution miscellaneous Application number, the Account to be attached was dormant, didn’t specify the specific bank account to remit the funds, the law firm acting for the judgement creditor was not mentioned and lastly, the said account didn’t have enough funds to suffice payment of the said debt.
” We are wary about this court order. We hereby write to seek your comfort and certification as to whether the said court order was genuinely issued by court.” Concluded the letter to court signed by Grace Nabukenya, the Senior Legal Officer of the bank.
On 27 August, in response to the Banker’s letter, Court Registrar Harriet Nalukwaho Ssali responded as follows;
” Upon checking the order, there was a typographic error. The garnishee order intended to direct your bank to attach shs 24,954700/= held on the Account No. 07822070003 in the name of Makoba Juma (judgement debtor) and deposit the same on the Account No. 9030012447840 of Mukono High Court Operations Account held at Stanbic Bank Mukono branch.”
” Although the funds are insufficient to satisfy the recovery of the debt, Bank of Africa is directed to attach the amount found thereon in execution of the garnishee order, ” continued the letter.
Upon carefully scrutinizing the details of the case, the respondent’s lawyers of LOI Advocates unearthed the unthinkable!
In issuing the order, even though Mr Asiimwe Issa – the applicant was present, Makoba – the respondent was not present and neither was the garnishee Bank – Bank of Africa represented. This aroused suspicion on the part of the respondent’s lawyers led by Andrew Obam.
In their plea to the trial judge to have the file revisited over suspicions that pointed to fraud, LOI Advocates argued that ” a decree was extracted against the bank for execution fraudulently choreographed to fleece the respondent and the garnishee herein.”
Further findings also revealed that Mugabe Simon Peter who had been signed on the arbitral order as an advocate was a non existent person for his details were not found on the roll of Advocates nor on that of certified Arbitrators.
The real drama unfolds regarding the two Law firms refered to in the arbitral award being non existent despite the fact that they both appear on the roll of Advocates.
Mr Zagyenda Joseph who initially operated Zagyenda & Co Advocates at plot 4 Wilson Road, enrolled in 1970 had since disappeared from his known address and his telephone number 0712515156 barred all incoming calls.
As for Mr Ndozireho Chris, another of the Advocates, it was proved that he had died about three years ago and his known telephone number 0772402221 currently used by his widow.
Obam, the respondent’s Lawyers refered to the court order as a clear fraud, and implored the presiding judge to revisit the file in it’s entirety for administrative action.
” Where as we are aware of the law on how to set aside garnishee orders, we are currently dealing with a fraudulent scheme and we can’t be privy to it. We implore you to revisit the file for administrative action,” pleaded Mr Obam.
Unless it turns out that order was issued fraudulently by the reported judgement creditor, the saga would have the court Secretary and the Registrar who signed on the fraudulent order implicated in what could run out to be one of the most profound acts of fraud by the staff of the court.
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