KAMPALA- The dishonest activities of Equity Bank, Meera Investments and Ronald Luwangula have finally started to catch up with them as they are now running around desperately, trying to use underhand methods to try and kill the case.
Following last week’s September 13 court adjournment of the Simbamanyo case after Sudhir, Equity Bank and Luwangula failed to fully comply with the August 9th Court Order, Justice Stephen Mubiru sent them back for another seven (7) days, within which to fully comply with the Order he issued in his August 9th ruling
Justice Mubiru’s Order directed Equity Bank and Sudhir to avail Court with Emails and documents exchanged between Equity Bank’s Lawyers of Katende & Co. Advocates and Sudhir’s lawyer Nelson Walusimbi, regarding the purported auction of Simbamanyo House and Afrique Suites Hotel.
Specifically, Justice Mubiru issued an Order for discovery of the following documents;
Certified copies of dollar account Statement operated by Katende Ssempebwa & Co. Advocates and Luwa Luwa with Equity bank, for the period 01. 08. 2020 to 30. 10. 2020.
However, when the matter for complying with the court order relating to the documents came up on Tuesday September 20, 2022 rather than obey the court order by producing the rest of the documents the lawyer of Equity Bank, Sim Katende instead surprised the court by pulling out of his hat of tricks a letter from the Inspector of courts which stated intealia:
Under sections 9 and 11 of the Administration of Justice act 2020 I am writing to immediately call for the entire file of HCCS No. 464 of 2021, Misc. Applications No. 1130 of 2022 and all other Misc applications thereunder for our scrutiny as a matter of urgency.
The relevant files should be delivered to this office by close of business on 19th September 2022. Signed Hon Justice Ruby Aweri Opio Chief Inspector of Courts.
However, the no nonsense Judge whom everybody says has returned some sanity to the commercial court division since he was appointed to head it, refused to be intimidated this letter and stated that he will not allow administrative issues to deter him from carrying out his constitutional mandate of delivering justice. He therefore ruled that he would proceed with hearing the case.
The bizarre letter from the Inspectorate of Courts, had ordered for the Simbamanyo file to be recalled for investigation because the Judge ordered Equity Bank, Katende Ssempebwa and Luwa Luwa to produce documents which were likely to bring to light their fraudulent dealings.
“Running to the inspectorate of Courts was tantamount to an abuse of court process in an attempt to abscond from providing the said evidence. It is sad if not shameful that these characters having used their high level connections to fraudulently sell the pensioners properties were now once again throwing their weight around in the court system to conceal crucial evidence that could expose their fraudulent activities. They should not be allowed to get away with this and in the process taint our Justice system,” said a source close to the matter.
According to Simbamanyo, the said documents they are trying to suppress would reveal how Meera Investments paid a one-million-dollar bribe to the bank officials to ensure the bank sold them Simbamanyo House for a mere US$ 5m without going through an auction.
This money was channeled through the dollar bank account of Katende Ssempebwa & Co Advocates and was subsequently rooted to their surrogate company Luwa Luwa and eventually shared between Katende Ssempebwa, the bank officials and Luwa Luwa.
The documents they are trying to conceal would further show the email trail on that transaction. In addition, the US$ dollar bank statement held by Luwa Luwa with Equity Bank, would show Luwa Luwa had no financial capacity to purchase the hotel. In fact, the hotel was purchased by the bank officials in partnership with Katende Semmpeewa with a loan from the bank for the entire purchase price. Luwa Luwa was used just as a front.
The Judge quickly saw these monkey tricks of trying to suppress evidence and ruled that the case would proceed because in law, a court hearing can’t be stopped by an administrative letter from the Inspectorate of Courts
He invited Equity Bank’s, Lawyers Sim Katende to proceed with their submissions which they declined and instead requested for adjournment of the case. The Judge declined to grant the request whereupon the Equity banks lawyer Katende stated he could not proceed with the case as those were his clients’ instructions, likewise the lawyer for Luwa Luwa.
However, the lawyer for Meera Investments agreed to participate since there were no orders against him and he was consequently not in contempt of the court order.
The Judge accordingly invited the respondent Simbamanyo’’ lawyers Benkya and Kihika advocates to make their submissions which they did eloquently. They stated the Judge had not declined to hear the application for leave to appeal rather they had a court order to obey before they could be heard. The judge had even advised them that if they did not have the documents to say so but not to just keep quiet and proceed to lodge an application for leave to appeal.
The Simbamanyo lawyers stated that if every interlocutory order was appealed the appeal court would be flooded/swamped with appeals which would make it impossible for it to discharge its duties on substantive appeals. The Simbamanyo lawyers recited many other authorities that supported their opposition the application for leave to appeal.
The Judge having listened carefully to the submissions and those made earlier by the applicants found no merit in the applicants leave to appeal and subsequently dismissed it with costs for Simbamanyo.
He also dismissed with costs applicants stay of execution and stay of proceedings. Justice Mubiru advised the Banks’ lawyers Katende Ssempebwa to wait for end of the trial and then appeal his ruling if it was not in their favor. But it was now premature.