Billionaire businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has dragged two city law firms to court, over conflict of interest in the Bank of Uganda-Crane Bank saga.
Filed under Miscellaneous Application No. 1063 of 2017, Sudhir lists MMAKS Advocates, AF Mpanga Advocates-Bowman’s Uganda, Crane Bank and Bank of Uganda as respondents in a 14-page ‘depone’ drawn by Ms. Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA) that links the law firm of AF Mpanga Advocates, the 2nd Respondent, to a damaging report about the businessman that was authored by the audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).
‘I have read and understood the contents of the Plaint, the Written Statement of Defence and Counterclaim, and Reply to the Written Statement of Defence to the Counterclaim which was filed out of time and I know that all the matters in HCCS No. 493 of 2017 raise issues of conflict of interest against the law firms of MMAKS and AF Mpanga Advocates…’ Mr. Ruparelia deponed.
He added: ‘I have read the PWC Report and note that each allegation made by PWC is backed up by alleged “Independent Legal Advice”, or “Legal Analysis” all of which were as per the document authored by the 2nd Respondent. I have been advised by my lawyers, Kampala Associated Advocates, which advice I believe to be true, that AF Mpanga is a necessary, material, competent and compellable witness to speak to the veracity of the contested PWC document.
Mr. Ruparelia deponed following a ‘Reply to the Written Statement of Defence’ filed by the two law firms, challenging the businessman’s demand of US$8 million from the Bank of Uganda, after the latter failed to file its defence in time, as per the Civil Procedure rules.
In the depone Mr. Ruparelia avers that the PWC document was adversely referred to in the defence by the two law firms, yet it contains contestable information given by ‘Bowman’s Uganda, another name for the law firm of AF Mpanga Advocates’.
… That the Reply to the Written Statement of Defence to the Counterclaim which was filed out of time alleges that the 3rd Respondents entire case is based on a so called forensic report (the PWC document) dated 13th January 2017, written by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and is attached to the 3rd Respondents late reply to the statement of defence as annexure M,’ Mr. Ruparelia further deponed.
Meanwhile, in a related development, last week Mr. Ruparelia’s lawyers, KAA, wrote to the Commercial Court Registrar, informing him about the failure by the BoU lawyers to file a defence in the stipulated of 15 days, as per Order 5 Rule 10 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
‘It is not in dispute that Bank of Uganda, which is the second counter Defendant in the counterclaim and a separate party, was served on August 11 and receipt acknowledged by the Secretary to the Bank of Uganda who stamped on them and returned them to the process server. To date the Bank of Uganda has elected to ignore the legal requirement to put in a defence in answer to the claim against it.
‘In so far as the issue of receipt of service on Bank of Uganda remains uncontested, we reiterate our prayer that in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules, judgment in default be entered against Bank of Uganda for USD8, 000, 000 (United States Dollars eight million only)’.
We therefore pray as per our latter dated 29 August 2017, that default judgment be entered against Bank of Uganda’, the KAA letter states in part.