President Yoweri Museveni

Investors have petitioned President Museveni over what they call a well-calculated syndicate orchestrated by commercial banks and top lawyers in town to cheat and box them out of the economy.

According to the petition, the investors also appealed for Museveni’s intervention in what they call unnecessary high commercial bank interests on loans.

The investors argue that although banks are quick to roll out sanctions on loan defaulting, they are slow to pay investors who demand them.

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“The banks employ double standards and unethical behavior by employing expensive lawyers to hide them from their obligations to us yet when it comes to foreclosing our assets due to loans advanced, they are quick to act,” the petition notes.

The investors accuse banks of failure to protect their customers and instead rely on lawyers to cheat them.

Some of the examples investors cite in their petition is the protracted battle between Standard Chartered Bank and Liberty LCD Group over Shs1.16 billion which has reached President Museveni’s table.

The investors argue that Liberty LCD accuses Standard Chartered Bank of allegations related to failure to pay Shs1.16b in ground rent.

The petition further notes that last year Standard Chartered Bank dumped over 600 containers on Liberty LCD’s three acre piece of land at Namanve following an undertaking that they will pay ground rent for the containers, but the bank has declined to pay the rent amounting to Shs1.16 billion.

“The bank used Liberty’s land to keep containers belonging to Threeways Shipping Services and evicted the company from a nearby plot. The bank, through their lawyers Ligormac wanted to sell the land to Mandela Group of Companies, and removed the containers and relocated them to Liberty LCD’s plot. The bank since April has not paid ground rent to Liberty LCD,” the investors noted in their petition.

In August last year, the investors said several other customers have placed demand on commercial banks to replenish their money which they said was mysteriously missing from their accounts.

The investors want Museveni to intervene so that Standard Chartered Bank pays Liberty LCD the Shs1.16b accruing from storage services the company has offered for close to a year.

The Uganda Bankers Association chairman, Mathias Katamba said investors should interface with the commercial banks for a win-win solution.

Katamba also added that he has never come across cases where banks connive with lawyers to cheat customers and pledged to investigate the matter concerning Liberty LCD and Standard Chartered Bank and lawyers.

A lawyer from Ligomarc, Rita Birungi, who represented Standard Chartered Bank in the Liberty LCD transaction that investors have reported to Museveni, told the New Vision newspaper over the weekend that due to confidentiality issues, she would not discuss client information.

Birungi however stated that some of the issues that investors tabled before Museveni regarding Liberty LCD’s transaction with Standard Chartered Bank are not true.

“Some of the information is not true but I cannot discuss it,” Birungi said.

Insolvency lawyer Kabito Karamagi and managing partner of Ligomarc, the law firm at the centre of the Standard chartered Bank-Liberty LCD Shs1.16b transaction, also declined to comment on the matter.

Over the weekend the corporate desk at Standard Chartered also declined to comment on the matter.

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