MOMENTARY REPRIEVE: Court Stops Crane Bank from Seizing Bitature’s Business Empire, Family Members over Loans

Patrick Bitature

KAMPALA, Uganda: Following our exclusive report detailing how Simba Telecom tycoon Patrick Bitature mortgaged his business empire, family members as well as himself in pursuance of billions in loans in order to engage in the nascent oil business, the commercial court has come to his rescue.

The court’s deputy registrar Thaddeus Opesen has issued an interim order that stops Crane bank from recovering the money until further directions of the court. “An interim injunction doth issue restraining the respondents (Crane Bank), its servants, agents and or assigns of whatever title from enforcing notices of demand,” reads the order in part.

Crane bank had issued demand notices to Bitature requiring him to repay close to Ushs150Bn or lose his business empire comprising of Simba Telecom and Marina Africa to auction.

Bitature too faced the imminent danger of being arrested and jailed along with some of his family members with whom he undertook to repay the loans in case the principal borrower, White Nile Consults, failed to return the money to the bank

Bitature borrowed the money in June last year to erect a plant for the storage and haulage of oil and gas, among such other business. The plant is located in Hohwa in the oil rich Hoima region.

Afraid of the imminent auction of the securities he used to obtain the loan, Bitature dashed to court. Once in court, his lawyers of Muwema and company advocates claimed that much as it true that their client approached Crane Bank for the loans in question, the bank merely made him sign a set of documents showing that he had actually obtained the funding yet it was not issued in full.

The lawyers added in the alternative that even if Crane bank disbursed the loans it undertook to disburse it would be premature to demand for repayment now. They explained that the repayment of the loans starts on September 30 this year as per the agreement entered into between the bank and the borrower.

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