COURT OF APPEAL: The appellate judges handling the Ham Vs DTB that include: The Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera, Justice Kenneth Kakuru and Justice Christopher Izama Madrama have seriously warned and cautioned the parties involved to desist from trying to compromise the judges in any way possible.
It should be known that Diamond Trust Bank appealed the October 2020 High Court judgement, since then the bank is fighting hard and doing everything possible to win the case, it has struggled to raise its voice through Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) and Bank of Uganda using numerous press releases with threatening remarks that the high court judgement was going to negatively impact the banking sector in Uganda plus the region at large.
On 9th October 2020, The Uganda Bankers Association through E.D Humphrey Wilbrod Owor and Chairman Mathias Katamba protested the Court Judgement and impulsively tried to persuade other trade associations to join them in a cause that underlooked the independence of the judiciary through releasing multiple press releases referring to the commercial court ruling as “RECKLESS”. in total contempt of the honourable court.
The three judges also ruled against the amicus curiae application by Bank of Uganda to join the Ham Vs DTB case and provide an expert opinion in the case. Their bid was questioned on grounds of lack of neutrality in the case since the High Court judgement had also listed BOU as one of the parties that had exhibited negligence in carrying out its regulatory work. Amicus curiae is someone who is not a party to a case but assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that are deemed key to the issues in the case.
In the 7th October 2020 judgement, the High Court ordered DTB to pay Ham Enterprises U Ltd the unlawfully debited amounts of 120billion, Legal fees and 9.6billion interest per year. The 120billion is not a reward to Ham Enterprises from the case that DTB lost due to illegalities of DTB Kenya operating in Uganda without a license but it is an accumulated amount that DTB has been debiting from Ham Enterprises U Ltd accounts over a spread period of 10 years.
According to the law, when two parties enter into a contract that is deemed illegal by the court, the parties are neither rewarded nor one given advantage over the other. It is at this point for the public to know that the High Court judgement did not award any party money arising from the illegality but rather ordered the bank to pay money that had been unlawfully withdrawn from Ham’s accounts without permission.
The court adjourned the case to be reheard on 17th March 2021.