The battle between wealthy businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and lawyers representing Bank of Uganda in a multi-million dollar suit has gained momentum with new documents being filed at the High Court in Kampala.
Sudhir recently sued the central bank’s lawyers Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi and David Mpanga of MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates respectively for breach of trust, conflict of interest and stabbing him in the back.
The two law firms were hired by Crane Bank to take on Sudhir in a bank fraud case.
The businessman said the two lawyers previously served as his personal and bank lawyers and “cannot appear as counsel in a matter in which they have potential to be witness and are conflicted, and that they cannot appear against former and current clients, or in matters where they will be in breach of their fiduciary relationship.”
According to a document seen by ChimpReports, Masembe represented Sudhir’s companies – Meera Investments, Rosebud Limited, Crane Bank and Speke Hotel against a one Joel Cox Ojuko.
The matter was resolved with Sudhir’s companies agreeing to pay Shs 90m to Ojuko.
“By consent of all parties to the suits aforesaid, the suits are hereby consolidated and judgement is entered in favour of the Applicant for Shs 9m in full and final settlement of the Applicant’s claims against the respondents inclusive of the costs of the case,” reads the consent order dated March 15.
The consent form was signed by MMAKS Advocates on behalf of Sudhir’s companies while Max Mutabingwa represented Ojuko.
Masembe has since told the media he was representing the companies but not Sudhir as an individual.
“I am familiar with that consent judgement and I want to say that I still work for it but Sudhir is Sudhir not those business entities,” Masembe was quoted by Daily Monitor as saying.
However, Sudhir argues that by virtue of being a shareholder and director of Crane Bank, he was a client of Mpanga and Masembe “within the meaning of the Advocates Act and that all times there was advocate-client relationship and a fiduciary relationship between me” and the lawyers.
He further states that during the management and conduct of the affairs of Crane Bank, the executive directors regularly consulted and wholly relied upon the advice of MMAKS Advocates and in that consultation, the board and management shared facts which are in issue in the fraud case.
Sudhir now wants Court to disband the team of lawyers representing Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank in a countersuit he filed against them last month.
He also asks court to issue a permanent injunction or a restraining order stopping the two firms from representing the two institutions in the High Court case.
The Commercial Court today set September 13 to entertain hear the application.