Businessman Patrick Bitature is set to appeal against the decision of the High Court that ruled in favour of South African firm Vantage Mezzanine Fund okaying the auction of his prime properties in the ongoing loan saga.
In his ruling delivered on Wednesday, Justice Stephen Mubiru threw out an application by Bitature’s Simba Group, which sought to stop the advertisement and auctioning of his properties. The properties that were advertised on May 18, 2022 include; Elizabeth apartments in Kololo, Protea Hotel (Skyz’s Hotel) in Naguru, Moyo Close apartments and Kololo gardens in Kampala.
“Take notice that the Applicants being dissatisfied with the ruling of Hon. Mr. Justice Stephen Mubiru which was delivered on the 10th day of June 2022, INTEND TO APPEAL, to the Court of Appeal against the whole ruling,” the notice of appeal from Bitature’s laywers led by Muwema & Co. Advocates and Solicitors reads.
The intended advertisement was to cause the sale of the mentioned properties owned by businessman Bitature, in bid to recover over $32 million that Vantage is demanding Bitature.
Justice Mubiru argued it was unfortunate that Simba Properties sued Counsel Robert Kirunda, Counsel Noah Shamah Wasige of Kirunda and Wasige Advocates and Bailiff Festus Katerega of Quick Way Auctioneers and Court Bailiff in their individual capacity, yet they were representing a known entity when they advertised their properties for auctioning in the newspapers.
Justice Mubiru went on to hold that his fellow Judge Ssekaana reached his decision of halting the auction process by error and therefore, he was not bound by it.
“To determine whether or not a foreign business organization, be it a corporation or firm, is carrying on business in Uganda, the court must inquire into whether that entity has some direct or indirect presence in Uganda, accompanied by a degree of business activity that is sustained for a period of time,” said Justice Mubiru.
“On the basis of all the foregoing considerations, I found that this application and the underlying suit, were entirely misconceived on account of the fact that they were instituted against agents of a known principal and on ground that the matters placed in issue in the suit are already the subject of a subsisting arbitral process,” ruled Justice Mubiru.
With the ruling of the court, it meant that Vantage can go ahead and advertise and sale the aforementioned properties and recover its outstanding loan against the businessman Bitature.