Patrick Bitature

Businessman Patrick Bitature and his counsel Fred Muwema have been dealt another blow as High Court on May 24, 2022 quashed their application seeking a court injection stopping Vantage from registering with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) equity shares in Simba Properties Investment Company Limited as the date for the payment of the USD 34 million elapsed in December 2019.

Simba Properties Investment Company Limited, Simba Telecom Limited Linda Properties Limited Elgon Terrace Hotel Limited, Patrick Bitature and Caroline Bitature were the applicants who have now been disappointed by Justice Stephen Mubiru who said their application catastrophically lacks a legal basis, in a ruling that Eagle Online has picked some paragraphs.

Counsel Muwema held personally liable

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Meanwhile Bitature’s lawyer Fred Muwema has been ordered to pay the costs of the application to the respondents for wasting court’s time as it acted on the quashed application that had no merit at all.

“The legal costs and time wasted in this litigation could have been avoided entirely if the applicants’ advocates had discharged their duties to the expected minimum standards of professional competence. It qualifies as a “rare and exceptional” case where it would not be fair for the applicants to bear the costs. The costs must be met by the applicants’ advocates in person. Consequently, the application is hereby dismissed. The costs of this application will be met personally by counsel on record for the applicants.”

The applicants and their lawyer Muwema in their application had sued Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership, Warren Van Der Merwe, Derek Alexander, Siyanda Khumalo and lawyers Robert Kirunda, Diana K sabiiti and Moses Muziiki, as respondents to the application.

The judge was displeased by Muwema’s seriousness in the application where he sued respondents for contempt of court, yet he had not filed any case. The judge in his ruling wondered why Muwema had to sue his fellow advocates.

“There is nothing pending determination in that application. The affidavit in support of the application cites Miscellaneous Application No. 408 of 2022 as the pending 15 application for contempt of court order to issue against the respondents. Examination of the Electronic Court Case Management Information System (ECCMIS) of this court reveals that both at the time of hearing and at the time of writing this ruling, no such application has been registered. In short, there are no pending proceedings in this court out of which this application arises. The application is therefore fundamentally misconceived from the outset.”

The judge further held: “Before taking leave of this matter, it is noteworthy that it is a well-established principle that courts have inherent power to maintain respect for their authority and to punish conduct that threatens the proper administration of justice. This includes awarding costs against advocates personally. An advocate who initiates proceedings unreasonably and vexatiously, may be required by the court to satisfy personally the costs of the litigation. An advocate may be ordered to pay costs where he 20 or she has caused costs to be incurred without reasonable cause or to be wasted by undue delay, negligence, egregious misconduct or other default that rises to a “rare and exceptional” level

The  applicants in the suit sought the interlocutory injunction so as to protect themselves “against injury by violation of their rights for which I have already found they could be adequately compensated for in damages if the uncertainty were resolved in their favour at the trial. The applicants’ need for such protection must be weighed against the corresponding need of the 10 respondents to be protected against injury resulting from being prevented from exercising their own legal rights for which it may not be adequately compensated in damages if the uncertainty were resolved in its favour at the trial. Having done so, I find that the balance of convenience is in favour of the respondents.”