AF Mpanga Advocates has announced the ending of its working relationship with South African domiciled law firm Bowmans.
“AF Mpanga Advocates is pleased to announce a new strategic direction. Following a mutual review of the firm’s relationship with the broader Bowmans group over the last few months, joint decision was made for AF Mpanga Advocates and Bowmans to move forward s separate firms from the March 1,2023,” the law firm said on Wednesday.
AF Mpanga Advocates in the notice said it would continue working with Bowmans but the latter’s representatives have a different opinion. “If we’re to continue working together. Why the separation?
Insiders from Bowmans say they had disagreements on certain issues that they could no longer tolerate, hence the separation between the two firms.
Backwards, the Commercial Court in Kampala in 2017 kicked lawyers Timothy Masembe and David Mpanga of MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates respectively from the case between Sudhir Ruparelia and Bank of Uganda in the Shs397 billion case.
Sudhir through his lawyers of Kampala Associated advocates lodged a complaint saying that the two lawyers and their firms were his potential witnesses and therefore, cannot continue representing Bank of Uganda citing conflict of interest having represented him and the defunct Crane Bank in the past. The two without shame had denied they ever worked for Sudhir.
But in his then ruling read by Commercial Court Registrar Lilian Buchana, Justice David Mwangutusi ruled that evidence shows that the two law firms have in the past had Sudhir Ruparelia and his Cranes Bank as clients adding that an implementation agreement signed between David Mpanga and Sudhir early that year which was also at the centre of Sudhir’s counter claim against Bank of Uganda was a clear indicator that the lawyer cannot represent the Central bank in the same case.
“They were close to Sudhir who was their client and a lot of information must have flown from one party to the other. The lawyers could have acquired secrets and therefore there is a possibility of disclosure of some of the secrets by the lawyers,”Mwangutusi said.
As part of his defence, Sudhir claims that Mpanga drafted the document containing evidence to be used as his defence and as such is a potential witness in the matter in High Court.
Mwangutusi concurred with Sudhir’s argument adding that there is a big conflict of interest from Mpanga, adding that the same cannot be allowed to be lawyer for Bank of Uganda yet at the same time a witness for Sudhir in the same matter.
“I find that there will be a conflict of interest from the lawyers and on those grounds, they are disqualified from the case,”he ruled.