By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
The Court of Appeal has today turned tables on the South African moneylenders, who are itching to sell businessman Patrick Bitature’s Ssimba Properties Investment and Ssimba Telecom Company Limited multi-billion real estate over a contested UGX177Bn loan, the Investigator reports.
Justice Christopher Gashibarake has this morning injucted the development. The same had been controversially cleared by Justice Stephen Mubiru of the High Court`s commercial division. But Justice Mubiru’s ruling had raised eyebrows. This is because the same ruling had the effect of canceling another one of a judge at the same ranking as him.
Justice Musa Ssekaana had previously declared the impugned loans as invalid. So, Mubiru’s verdict was, to that extent, somewhat controversial and unprecedent. Ssekaana had invalidated the loan transactions because the South African lenders known as Vantage Mezzanine Fund 11 partnership, had themselves circumvented the legal requirement of registering their business relationship with Bitature, prior to carrying out the transactions themselves.
Subsequent to that finding, Justice Ssekaana invalidated as well, any recovery measure in respect of the impugned loans. But against that ruling, the lenders went ahead and advertised Bitature’s collaterals for auction, and this, as much as the lenders had themselves lodged an appeal at the same time.
That being the case, Bitature’s lawyers of Muwema and Company Advocates filed an application before Court of Appeal, seeking for a temporary measure against the apparent mischief the lenders were up to. Other than granting or disallowing the application the firm of Muwema and Company advocates was seeking, Mubiru, on the contrary went ahead and reopened Justice Ssekaana’s ruling before he dismissed it, just like he was now the court of appeal himself.
Despite the fact that he is at the same rank as Ssekaana, who had earlier invalidated the loans, and coupled with the fact that the lenders had appealed, Justice Mubiru nonetheless, ruled that he wasn’t bound by Ssekaana’s ruling. (Strange Precedence: Judge Stephen Mubiru`s act of Re-opening Judge Musa Ssekana’s Verdict and Dismissing it is Bizarre)
Consequently, Mubiru overturned Ssekaana’s ruling and directed for the auction of Bitature’s collaterals basing on the impugned loan transaction. For the record, Justice Mubiru had earlier on condemned Counsel Fred Muwema in legal costs for filing an application to stop Vantage from privately prosecuting Bitature on the basis of the loan transactions which Ssekaana had declared invalid. Following Mubiru`s ruling cancelling out Ssekaana’s, Muwema appealed. To his relief and that of his client, Justice Gashibarake has injuncted the impugned auction, pending the hearing of the main application regarding Mubiru’s ruling. Watch the space.