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Sudhir vs Lule & Sebalu conflict of interest, ruling fixed for April 24

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Commercial Court has fixed April 24, 2019 as the day court will give its ruling on the case involving city tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia and attorneys from Lule and Sebalu advocates.

Sudhir in a suit filed December 2017 argues that Sebalu and Lule Advocates should not be representing BoU and Dfcu bank as this 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 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.

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