A Kampala city lawyer Samuel Kwizera Bitangaro of Bitangaro and Co Advocates faces disciplinary action from the Law Council following accusations that he connived with other fraudsters to con Coil Limited, a construction company, of Shs440 million in a dubious land deals.
According to the letter addressed to the Chairperson Disciplinary Committee of the Council on August 29, 2018 by Coil Limited’s General Manager Mrs. Pooja Dokwal, in 2010, Bitangaro approached Mr. Ram Mohan, the Managing Director of the company (Complainant) and proposed that the duo jointly purchase land comprised in private mailo block 191A Plot 33 at Magere, and Kyandondo well knowing that the complainant was a foreign company with no right to buy mailo land.
The General Manager adds: “Sam Bitangaro a trusted advocate purportedly conducted due diligence on the said land and subsequently a sale agreement prepared and drafted by Bitangaro & Co advocates was executed on 15th of December 2010 for the said land for a consideration of Shs400 million payable in installment as agreed upon by parties.” She says Shs10 million was paid to the purported vendors.
To confuse the complainant (Coil Limited) further, Counsel Bitangaro and his accomplices are said to have mingled the description of the land by reciting in the preamble to the said agreement witnessed by his law firm “that the vendors were the registered proprietors to the land to the land comprised in LRV 1311 Folio10, Block 401, plots 1 and 2 Gomba, Kibimba, Mpigi District.
She says the above arrangement was meant to create the impression that Coil Limited was probably buying leasehold or otherwise for the reasons best known to the respondents. Reference is made to paragraph 3 of the said agreement that Eagle Online was unable to access but Mrs. Dokwal says one of the sellers in the agreement has an ‘incomplete name’.
The said transaction, according to the complainant, has never been concluded because “the said land was being sold by vendor who did not have the right to sell the same. And he has established that the registered proprietor of the said land was deceased at the time of the transaction and that no letters of administration had been obtained for his estate.
“Much as the agreement stated that the vendors had applied for letters of administration, there was no guarantee that they were going to get/granted the same, a factor which the respondents, as trained advocates were expected to know or foresee,”the General Manager says.
The complainant believes Bitangaro colluded with the purported vendors to fleece the company of the said money, adding that the purported vendors continuously snub his calls. The complainant also adds that Bitangaro has been evasive since the transaction and exchange of cash took place.
In addition Coil Limited has accused Bitangaro of failing to handle over 99-year lease certificate of title and other documents relating to land comprised of private mailo, Block 195, Plot 1439 and Block 195, Plot 1440 situated at Kyanja. The company MD says he gave Shs40 million to Bitangaro as his counsel, to buy the said land but instead the lawyer acquired the land not in the company names but his names. He is said to have drafted the agreement using his law firm.
Bitangaro is said to have connived with his co advocate Peter Nkuruziza to sell the said land to Rutungo Properties Limited with the complainant’s knowledge. Rutungo Properties Limited has since put a caveat on the said land prohibiting the complainant from registering their interest or dealing in the said land.
The complainant now wants the disciplinary committee to discipline Counsel Bitangaro for professional misconduct, the conduct they say is unbecoming of an advocate. The company also wants Bitangaro to compensate them for the transaction related in land in Magere but that also be forced to perform his obligation under sale agreement, related to the land in Kyanja.
However, Bitangaro in his defence, says he entered into a transaction with Rohan for lease of the Kyanja plot to Coil Limited for 99 years. In other words, Bitangaro seems to refute claims that Rohan gave him Shs40 million to buy the plot on a lease basis on behalf of Coil Limited.