The Head of the Commercial Division of the High Court, Justice David Wangutusi wants Sudhir Ruparelia case against Sebalu & Company Advocates for conflict of interest be consolidated with other cases involving the businessman.
He sent back the file to the clerk on Friday and directed both parties to liaise with the official to get new a date for the hearing of the case.
Recently the court pushed the case to this March for the hearing after the judge fell sick.
Ruparelia in a suit filed last December argues that Sebalu and Lule Advocates should not be representing BoU and Dfcu Bank as this would amount to conflict of interest as the law firm already represented Crane Management Services which is part of the Ruparelia Group the holding company of former Crane Bank Limited.
Crane Management Services sued DFCU Bank demanding rental arrears amounting to Shs2.9 billion and US $385,728.54 in respect of tenancies of suit properties that were formally owned by Crane Bank Limited (CBL).
Ruparelia also wants the court to issue a permanent injunction, restraining Sebalu & Lule Advocates from appearing as defence counsel for dfcu bank in the other court case that the two principals are battling out.
“In view of the advocate-client relationship between the applicant (Crane Management Services sued Dfcu Bank) and the 1st respondent (Sebalu & Lule advocates), the latter’s continued participation as defence counsel for the 2nd respondent (Dfcu bank) herein, which is the defendant in High Court Civil Suit (HCCS) No. 109/2018 against the applicant/plaintiff, is prejudicial to the applicant’s head suit,” the petition reads in part.
In December 2017, the Commercial disqualified Masembe and Mpanga from the sh397 billion Sudhir Ruparelia’s case against Bank of Uganda (BoU), citing conflict of interest.
In his ruling delivered on December 21, 2017, Wangutusi stated that David Mpanga of A.F. Mpanga Advocates and Timothy Masembe of MMAKS Advocates acted in violation of the Advocates regulations.
Section 4 of the regulation says that an advocate shall not accept instructions from any person in respect of a contentious or non-contentious matter if the matter involves a former client and the advocate as a result of acting for the former client is aware of any facts which may be prejudicial to the client in that matter.
Court documents indicate that when Dfcu Bank took over the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank, it also took over occupation and use of the said rented properties from which the real estate company wants to recover accumulated rent arrears from Dfcu bank.
Some of the properties cited include; Crane Bank branches at plot 9 on Market Street, plot 1-13, Jinja Road, plot 47, Republic Road-Mbale, Speke Hotel (1996), Pot 19 Cooper Road (Crane Plaza), plot 20, Kampala Road –Crane Bank ATM.