KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Commercial Division of the High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application filed by Businessman Patrick Bitature seeking protection from being sued privately by South African firm Vantage Mezzanine Fund II partnership as it bids to recover a $10m loan it extended to the businessman eight years ago.
Bitature through his lawyers Fred Muwema of Muwema and Co. Advocates had run to court seeking a temporary injunction against the South African money lender filing a private prosecution over the loan until final disposal of a pending contempt of court case.
While delivering his ruling on Tuesday, May 24, Commercial Court Justice Stephen Mubiru dismissed the businessman’s application citing “lack of legal basis” in his appeal.
Justice Mubiru ruled that; “The applicants’ (Mr Bitature and his companies) need for such protection must be weighed against the corresponding need of the respondents (Vantage) to be protected against injury resulting from being prevented from exercising their own legal rights for which it may not be adequately compensated in damages if uncertainty were resolved in its favour at the trial. ”
“Having done so, I find that the balance of convenience is in favour of the respondents (Vantage). Consequently, the application is hereby dismissed,” he added in the ruling.
The judge also ruled that Bitature’s lawyer, Counsel Fred Muwema pays the costs of the application for not having professionally advised the businessman and his companies not to institute such a case that catastrophically lacked a legal basis.
“The costs of this application must be met personally by counsel on record (Mr Muwema) for the applicants,” Justice Mubiru ruled, adding that if Muwema had exercised his legal competence and professionally advised his clients, the legal costs and wastage of time would have been avoided.
According to evidence table before court, in December 2014, Bitature through his companies Simba Properties Ltd and Simba telecom, executed an agreement (the Mezzanine Term Facility) with Vantage Mezzanine in which they borrowed unspecified sums of money.
Documents further disclose that the securities executed for the said borrowed money, were in the names of the businessman’s properties, which now stand to be auctioned.
Some of the companies include; Simba Properties Investment Co. Limited, Simba Telecom Limited, Linda Properties Limited, and Elgon Terrace Hotel Limited among others.
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