By Our Reporter
KAMPALA: Ugandan businessman Mr. Kiggundu Hamis is waiting for judgment as Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has admitted illegalities at the Supreme Court.
The Court convened on Friday, May 5th, 2023, at 11:39 a.m to re-institute a panel of judges following the demise of Justice Ruby Opio Aweri on December 7, 2022.
A panel composed of Justices Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Chief Justice of Uganda; Michael Chibita; Percy Night Tuhaise; Faith Essy Mwondha; and Justice Stephen Musota was selected to decide the case, adopting the case court records, including Ham’s November 11, 2021, application for judgment on admission by DTB and its lawyers, K&K advocates.
“Based on the fact that non-tolerance of illegalities in all courts of law is the baseline of all legal structures and judicial proceedings internationally, this case is a weighing scale on the independence of the Ugandan Judiciary.”
Ham’s grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court are that the justices at the court of appeal failed to address the substantial issue of illegality as rightfully ruled at the High Court since DTB admits the same. Ham made an application for judgment on admission on November 23, 2021.
Ham Enterprises (U) Limited awaits judgment on court admission, while DTB is stuck with the illegality as admitted both on court records from the high court and in their submissions to the Supreme Court.
In any given society, once politicians and public servants start financially competing with the private business community, it compromises social economic development and the upward transformation of society at large as they start using their positions to undermine all structures, systems, and policies put in place to carry the nation forward.
Quick facts to note
Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) unlawfully debited Ugx. 120 billion from Ham Enterprises (U) Limited accounts and admitted to committing illegalities at the high court on court records when Mr. Kiryowa Kiwanuka told the court that DTB had no license to operate in Uganda, and judgment was made in favor of Ham Enterprises at the high court for recovery of the debited monies from the bank.
The bank and its lawyers, K&K Advocates, additionally admitted at the Supreme Court the failure of the Court of Appeal to address the substantial point of illegality in their submission of November 5, 2021.
On November 11, 2021, Ham filed an application stating that DTB concurred with him that the Court of Appeal (COA) justices, Richard Buteera, Christopher Madrama, and Keneth Kakuma, did not address the issues of illegality contrary to the provisions of the Financial Institutions Act, on which grounds judgment was rightfully entered at the high court.
Key Questions to note
Can the Ugandan Supreme Court shield an illegality contrary to the international baseline for judicial proceedings and legal structures? Are the Supreme Court judges strong enough to administer justice and uphold the law?
Can Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s political influence as the current Attorney General and Mr. Karugire’s marital status save Diamond Trust Bank from the illegalities committed and admitted on court records?
Is Kiryowa Kiwanuka being the attorney general and at the same time a partner in K & K Advocates amounting to a conflict of interest and frustrating and compromising the independence of the judiciary?
Can Diamond Trust Bank escape the law given our weak legal structures and policies as a nation?
Will this case protect Ugandans from the current exploitative, poorly regulated banking system?
In March 2020, Ham filed a suit against DTB for recoveries of monies unlawfully debited in excess of USD 120 billion from its accounts.
The bank unlawfully and deceitfully withdrew these amounts over a spread period of 10 years in excess of all the company’s liabilities to the bank, which Kirwowa Kiwanuka admitted on court records.
In September 2020, DTB Kenya did not have a license permitting it to conduct banking business in Uganda, and neither did DTB Uganda have the authority to conduct agency business on behalf of DTB Kenya there, contravening sections 4 (1) and 117 of the Financial Institutions Act and the banking regulations.
On October 7, 2020, a judgment was entered in favor of Ham Enterprises (U) Limited at the high court by Hon. Justice Henry Peter Adonyo.
Karugire and Kilyowa Kiwanuka, using their political influence, resultantly demoted and transferred the said judge immediately from the head of the high court’s commercial division to Soroti.
Now that the public has witnessed K & K advocates controlling judges and influencing judgments in their favor in so many cases, victimizing and subjecting Ugandans to unfair and unjust political waves that always frustrate justice using political positions undermining the legal procedures with total absolute impunity, can they successfully, politically bulldoze the Supreme Court, or shall the law prevail?
Diamond Trust Bank admitted on court records by their submissions that they committed illegalities, where they emphasized that “the Court of Appeal justices erred at law when they failed to address the substantial point of illegality upon which judgment was rightfully entered at the high court,” specifically stating that “the learned justices were entitled to first deal with the grounds regarding the procedure adopted by the trial judge in striking out the defendants’ pleadings and granting the impugned orders before dealing with the other grounds.
It was within these admissions in the bank’s submissions that they clearly stated that the appellant judges never addressed the circumstances under which the bank never sought the permission of the Bank of Uganda to carry out its business in Uganda as required, hence violating sections 4 (1) and 117 of the Financial Institutions Act.
In our opinion, this case puts the Ugandan Judicial System and independence on trial, whether non-tolerance of illegalities is the baseline of all legal structures and judicial proceedings in all courts of law throughout the world or whether it is too weak to handle political pressure, compromising all constitutional rights of Ugandans.
Can Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s political influence as the current attorney general and Mr. Karugire’s marital status save Diamond Trust Bank from the illegalities committed and admitted on court records, or is this case a beacon of hope to all Ugandans as a solution to this cancer of exploitative foreign banks that unlawfully debit monies from Ugandans’ accounts? Is Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s being the attorney general and at the same time a partner in K & K Advocates amounting to a conflict of interest, thus frustrating and compromising the independence of the judiciary?
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