By Nasser Kasozi Akandwanaho
Simbamanyo Estates Limited and its proprietor Peter Kamya have lost an appeal against the decision of the High Court’s Commercial Division on the sale of their multimillion properties.
High Court Judge Susan Abinyo dismissed with costs, the application in which Simbamanyo had sought to halt the transfer of its prime properties in Kampala which Equity Bank Ltd sold to recover outstanding loans worth $10.8 million (about Shs40 billion).
In a ruling delivered by e-mail this Friday, July 30, Justice Abinyo said that Simbamanyo Estates did not present to the court acceptable grounds for the court’s consideration to halt the orders of the Registrar Commercial Court, issued on February 17, 2021.
The judge also ordered legal costs for the bank and three others — Meera Investments Ltd, Luwaluwa Investments Ltd, and the Commissioner Land Registration incurred in the appeal.
The case, filed last year was dismissed on technical grounds in February after Simbamanyo Estates and Kamya failed to serve the summons in time.
Through their lawyers, Muwema and Company Advocates, Simbamanyo filed an appeal, contending that the abatement order of February 17 issued by the registrar Lillian Bucyana was premature and irregular and should therefore be set aside.
The abatement process is a pre-trial procedure that is only intended to expedite the hearing of cases.
In her ruling on February 17, the registrar ordered that the suit be dismissed because of failure by the Simbamanyo to take out a summons for directions on time.
Simbamanyo and its proprietor, Peter Kamya however contended that the court registrar failed in her duty when she issued an abatement order without giving them a chance to explain why the summons to issue for guidelines were not issued as required by law.
The duo contended that it was irregular to abate the case in proceedings without hearing from them and wanted the decision overturned.
In October last year, Equity Bank sold Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue to Meera Investments Limited and Afrique Suites on Mutungo Hill to Luwaluwa Investments after court cases in which Simbamanyo sought to block the sale arguing that the said loans advanced to him were illegal.
Justice Abinyo confirmed that stopping the sale would have infringed the Bank’s right to be heard and also inconvenienced those who prepared for the auction which was advertised on September 8, 2020, fixing the sale date.
On October 8 this last year, Simbamanyo Estates Limited unsuccessfully filed an application seeking for express orders to stay the sale of its properties which took place on the same day.
Today’s ruling draws an end to the legal ping pong Simbamanyo has been playing, allowing the new owners to comfortably enjoy their properties.