KAMPALA, Uganda: Even when they had smelt a rat and sneaked out pre-maturely, court has found it in tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s favor and ejected city lawyers Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe and David Mpanga from his protracted case with Bank of Uganda.
Justice David Wangutsi delivered the ruling this morning, maintaining the businessman’s argument that the two are actually conflicted lawyers having previously served as his (Sudhir’s) lawyers as well as lawyers for many of his associated companies.
The judge has also ordered the two lawyers to pay costs of the application to Dr. Sudhir. Sudhir will present his bill which will then be taxed by court and then met by Masembe and Mpanga. Deputy Registrar, Her Honor Lillian Buchana delivered the ruling on Wangutusti’s behalf in which the judge has given matching orders to the two lawyers, sending Sudhir and his well-wishers into wild jubilation.
Bank of Uganda had retained the two lawyers to prosecute the lawsuit it filed against Sudhir claiming that the businessman took a total of Ugx400bn from Crane Bank leading to its collapse.
Masembe is one of the managing partners in the firm of Masembe, Makubuya, Adriko, Karugaba, Ssekatawa and company advocates that is abridged as MMAKS, whilst Mpanga practices with A.F Mpanga and Company advocates of which he is one of the top bosses.
Dr. Sudhir had objected to the two lawyers’ saying they had acted for him and several of his companies in the past before betraying him by switching sides to represent the central bank. Sudhir made the assertions complete with documentary instructions he and his companies had previously handed the two lawyers to perform on his and that of his companies’ behalf as well as evidence of them (lawyers) having followed suit to do as were instructed.
Having acted for him in the past, Sudhir argued, helped the two lawyers to gain access to a lot of inside information concerning him and his companies which he added they have since handed over to Bank of Uganda and are actually using to further the lawsuit which the central bank is filing against him.
The two lawyers had insisted on representing Bank of Uganda though. Much as they admitted having acted for Sudhir’s companies previously, they added that the companies themselves gave them instructions not Sudhir.
Despite of Masembe and Mpanga protestations, Bank of Uganda had gone ahead to hire another firm of Sebalu, Lule and company advocates to represent them in the lawsuit, an indicator the central knew new that the two lawyers were unlikely to escape Sudhir’s onslaught.
Meanwhile, Sudhir also put forward evidence to show that Masembe and Mpanga would his potential witnesses as far as the case against him is concerned. To this end, Sudhir pointed out what he called falsehoods being peddled by bank of Uganda against him which he added would necessitate Masembe to turn out as his witness to dispel them. Sudhir then quotes Bank of Uganda as claiming that he (Sudhir) was involved in the day to day running of Crane Bank adding that Masembe would be best suited to dispel such talk since he was the bank’s top lawyer who knew what went on inside Crane Bank.
Turning to Mpanga, Sudhir said it’s him (Mpanga) who gave legal analysis that forms the basis of the PWC report regarding his (Sudhir’s) alleged mismanagement of Crane Bank. As such, Sudhir invited court to summon Mpanga as a witness to defend the veracity or lack of it of the report.Ruling – Sudhir vs MMAKS Advocates & Others