KAMPALA: The Commercial Division of the High Court has thrown out an application in which businessman Patrick Bitature had sought to stop the auctioning of his properties by Vantage Mezzanine Fund, a South African company.
Justice Stephen Mubiru on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 ruled, that Simba Properties erred by suing lawyers of Kirunda and Wasige Advocates and Bailiff Festus Katerega in their individual capacity for advertising their properties for auctioning in the newspapers yet they were representing Vantage, a known entity.
“On the basis of all the foregoing considerations, I found that this application and the underlying suit, were entirely misconceived on account of the fact that they were instituted against agents of a known principal and on ground that the matters placed in issue in the suit are already the subject of a subsisting arbitral process,” ruled Justice Mubiru.
“In the result, I found that a prima facie case had not been established. There were no serious questions of the law and fact to be tried by this court to justify the grant of a temporary injunction. The application was thus dismissed with costs to the respondents and the underlying suit was struck out with costs to the defendants.” the judge further ruled.
This implies that Vantage can go ahead and advertise and sale the fore mentioned properties and recover its outstanding loan against the businessman Bitature.
Properties to be auctioned include Naguru hilltop Skyz Hotel, which offers a bird’s eye view of Kampala, Elizabeth Royal Apartments in the capital’s upscale Kololo neighbourhood, and Moyo Close Apartments in Bukoto.
Vantage says it lent Bitature and his various companies $10 million in 2014 of which he has “not paid back one cent” despite the loan term ending in 2019.
The lenders say the loan to Bitature’s companies has now ballooned to $32 million after accrued and compounded interest, and penalties, kicked in.
Bitature clarified matters in a personal statement he released last month in which he acknowledged receiving the loan but said difficulties arising from delays in Uganda’s oil and gas sector had undermined his companies’ ability to repay the loan.