NEWS EDITOR MEDIA
JOURNALIST Sarah Nandawula who reports from Parliament of Uganda and Angella Namatovu are among members of public in Uganda whose hard earned money saved in banks was withdrawn without their consent. Worried public have continued demanding intervention of Bank of Uganda and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) but this broad day theft has continued. CID Headquaters in Kibuli is overwhelmed by complaints from clients banking with some banks who are facing similar cases of fraud like that of Nandawula and Namatovu and Public hope is now left with Judiciary! On Friday May 5, 2023 at 11:39 am, Court convened to re-institute a panel of Judges of the Supreme court, to decide the case adopting the case court records including the November 11, 2021 Investor Hamis Kiggundu’s application for Judgment on admission by Dimond Trust Bank and its Lawyers Kiryowa Kiwanuka (Uganda’s Attorney General) and Edwin Karugire of K&K advocates. In March 2020, Ham filed a suit against DTB for recoveries of monies unlawfully debited in Excess of UGX 120 Billion from his accounts.
Ham Enterprises (U) limited awaits judgment on court admission while DTB is stuck with the illegality as admitted both on court records from high court and the admissions on court record in their submissions at supreme court.
In Part I of this story, we assess Supreme Court independence in determining investor Hamis Kiggundu vs Diamond Trust Bank case!
For starters, Hamis Kiggundu is a leading multi billionaire local investor in Uganda owning a number of investments both at home and outside the country. They include: Ham International (Express logistics llc), Ham international (inc us), Ham Agro processing industries limited (Uganda), Ham Pam Villas (Homes, Appartments, Villas), Ham Internatinal uk, Nakivubo stadium reconstruction (Ham enterprises limited). Ham is also a lawyer by profession and an author of books like Success and failure based on reason.
The re-institution of a panel of Judges follows the demise of Justice Ruby Opio Aweri on December 7, 2022.
A panel composed of Justices: Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Chief Justice of Uganda, Micheal Chibita, Percy Night Tuhaise, Faith Essy Mwondha, and Justice Stephen Musota was selected to decide this very interesting case which is going to put Supreme court on trial as Public demands independence of the Judiciary.
Public says, 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, the Ham Vs DTB Bank fraud case is a weighing scale on the independence of the Ugandan Judiciary.
Public is worried that because of Counsel Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s political office and Mr. Edwin Karugire’s Marital status, this might influence Supreme Court to save Diamond Trust Bank from the illegalities commited and admitted on Court records or the decision will be a ray of hope to all Ugandans as a solution to this cancer of the exploitative foreign banks that unlawfully debit monies from Ugandans’ accounts? Kiryowa Kiwanuka (Attorney General) is a partner in K & K advocates, lawyers of embattled DTB and on this public is worried that this may amount to conflict of interest and if this might frustrate and compromise the independence of the Judiciary.
In our opinion, this case puts the Ugandan Judicial System’s independence on trial. The question is whether non-tolerance of illegalities as the baseline of all legal structures and Judicial proceedings in all courts of law throughout the world will be upheld or the judiciary is too weak to handle political pressure thereby compromising all constitutional rights of Ugandans.
Like said a above, Hamis Kiggindu filed a suit against DTB for recoveries of monies unlawfully debited in Excess of UGX 120 Billion from his accounts.
This Bank unlawfully and deceitfully withdrew these amounts over a spread period of 10 years in excess of all the companies liabilities to the bank on top of which lawyer Kirwowa Kiwanuka admitted on court records In September 2020, that his client 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 by 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.
Justice Adonyo was demoted and transferred from the head of high court, commercial division to Soroti.
Members of public look at this as controlling judges and influencing judgements in their favor in some 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.
Hard test; will they successfully, politically bulldoze the Supreme Court, or the law shall prevail in the Ham Vs DTB matter?
For starters, Diamond Trust Bank admitted on court records by their submissions that they committed illegalities.
“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.” Insists lawyers.
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.
Ham’s grounds of appeal at supreme court is that the justices at the court of appeal failed to address the substantial issue of illegality as rightfully ruled at High Court since DTB admits the same, Ham made an application for judgment on admission on November 23, 2021.
Diamond Trust Bank and its lawyers K&K advocates additionally at supreme court admitted 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 had 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 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 current Attorney General of Uganda and Mr. Karugire’s Marital status save Diamond Trust Bank from the illegalities committed and admitted on Court records or this case is a beam of hope to all Ugandans as a solution to this cancer of the exploitative foreign banks that unlawfully debit monies from Ugandans’ accounts?
● Is Kiryowa Kiwanuka being the attorney general and at the same time a partner in K & K advocates amounting to 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 save Ugandans from the current exploitative poorly regulated banking system.
For views/comments on this story, email the editor at email@example.com