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Top Kampala Lawyer Suspended Over Shs10bn Fraud Scandal

cialis 40mg http://cctvcameraz.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-terms-list-table.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Advocates for two years from legal practice, abortion accusing him of fraud and unbecoming conduct.

The ruling stemmed from a case in which the lawyer was accused by his clients of failure to account for their money recovered from Diary Corporation Ltd as terminal benefits and being fraudulent in the conduct of his business as an advocate.

According to the ruling LCD No.60, 83, and 99/2009 that was delivered and signed on August 31, by John M B Kiwuuwa, Elijah M Wante, Bruce Kyerere, Eva Luswata Kawuma and Miriam Namutebi; Semakula was asked to refund all the monies from the complainants and retain only 10 percent of their gross award the same being the reasonable legal fees in the circumstance of the case.

The remuneration agreements entered into by the respondent and the complainants’ representatives were declared illegal and unenforceable.

The Law Council ordered Semakula to forthwith pay to the complainants’ shs3, 000,000 as costs to the complainants and Shs2, 000,000 as costs to the Law Council disciplinary committee.

When contacted for a comment, Semakula rubbished the judgment, saying that Law council has no powers of suspending him from legal practice.

“I stand to state that the ruling is marred by malice and I have petitioned High Court before Justice Eldard Mwanguhya but has not yet replied me since he is out of the country at the moment,” said Semakula.

“The Law council is just a disciplinary committee like it is in any organization and therefore has no powers of suspending me from legal practice.”

The scandal is a big blow to the lawyer’s career.

Drama started unfolding when the former employees of Diary Corporation ltd engaged the services of M/S Semakula & Co Advocates in recovering their terminal benefits and Milk allowances all totaling to shs10bn.

Subsequently, Semakula filed 4 cases in the High Court namely; HCCS No. 614/2003 Moris Ogwal and Otai Samuel Vs Diary Corporation ltd, HCCS No. 814/2003 Ogono Charles Vs Diary Corporation ltd, HCCS No.800/2003 Otai Samuel and Ogono Charles Vs Diary corporation ltd and HCCS No. 883/2004 Behangana Richard and Mugisha Fred Vs Diary Corporation ltd.

The above cases did not go for full trial as Semakula, after negotiations, secured consent judgment for all the four on August 17, 2006.

The Law Council said that it was important to note that given the huge number of the claimants, they appointed six representatives they identified as Morris Ogal,

Otai Samuel, Ogono Charles, Behangana Richard, Oyena George and Mugisha Fred who took out representative action.

On June 3, 2009 the respondents’ Stanbic Bank account Number 01400270095802 was credited with shs10,215,185,303 – the same being the sum total in respect of the four consent Judgments.

In a letter of May 7, 2009, the former workers complained to the Law Council that Semakula wrongly computed their benefits using a lower percentage and charged them twice for fees.

They argued that as per the three different consent decrees, they were supposed to be paid 25% interest, but Ssemakula only paid them 4%, adding, the lawyer deducted his fees of 30%, more than he should have.

Semakula, it was alleged, instead of channeling these funds to his clients, started playing cat and mouse games.

He also feigned sickness, alleging that he was sick and admitted at Nakasero Hospital in Kampala.

This angered the complainants, who sought the Law Council Disciplinary committee’s intervention.

RULING

Semakula was charged with four counts of failure to carry out clients’ instructions contrary to regulation 2(2) of the Advocates professional conduct, failure to account for clients money contrary to regulation 8(2), unbecoming conduct contrary to regulation 31(2), and acting fraudulently or improperly in the discharge of professional duty contrary to section 74(1) (K) of the advocates act cap267.

Reading the ruling on Tuesday, the presiding learned friends pointed out that they were not only disappointed with but also shocked with the manner the respondent conducted the financial transactions in this case.

They described the act as shabby, monstrous, obscene, predatory, heinous and ignominious; adding that the honorable learned profession must be protected from such diabolical behavior.

“We find the respondent in total breach of this regulation when he signed all the above illegal agreements to the detriment of his clients,” they added.

The presiding lawyers agreed the scam leaves them with the irresistible conclusion that all the agreements/ instructions executed between the respondents and the complainants’ representatives were extortionate, unconscionable and fraudulent.

They cited Justice Irene Mulyagonja as she then dealt at length with these types of agreements in the case of Misc. Application No.645/2010 (No.2) arising from

Misc. Application 622&625 of 2010 Shell Uganda Ltd and 9 others Vs Rock petroleum (U) Ltd, Uganda Revenue Authority, M/S Muwema & Mugerwa Advocates.

The lawyers stated that if the paramount element of protecting the good name of the profession ultimately causes injustice to an individual who has broken the professional rules and that justice is unavoidable in the individual case, it has to be accepted as the price of maintaining public confidence in it, adding, it’s “the essential test to be applied by the tribunal is that of public interest.”

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