Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia today Tuesday filed an application before the High Court’s Commercial Division, seeking a Default Judgement in a countersuit that he filed earlier this month against Crane Bank Ltd and Bank of Uganda.
A default judgment is one issued by a court in favour of a party A against Party B, when B fails to take required action.
In this case, Sudhir’s lawyers, Kampala Associates Advocates (KAA) accuse Crane Bank and BOU of failing to file a response within the provided 15days, to his counterclaim in which he sought to be paid up to $8million, (about Shs 29billion) in accordance with an agreement he had signed earlier with the two.
He says he first served them on August 3rd, with the counterclaim and later on filed before court an amended counterclaim, which he served them on August 14th, but they have never filed a response.
Moments after calling for the judgement by default, Crane Bank and BoU lawyers wrote to the court explaining why they didn’t file a response.
BoU and Crane Bank are represented in this case by MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates.
MMAKS, in their letter seen by Chimpreports, claim that while they were duly served with the amended counterclaim on August 14th; their colleagues at AF Mpaga Advocates were not served.
These told the Commercial Court Deputy Registrar that they tried to raise this concern to KAA, (Sudhir’s lawyers) but there was no response.
Council Fred Mpanga himself according to the MMAKS letter, pointed this out to KAA’s Council Bruce Musinguzi.
MMAKS argue that they, together with AF Mpaga advocates had instructions to represent BoU and Crane Bank, and therefore should both have been served.
Sudhir’s lawyers however, quickly responded to this, pointing out that they were not bound by law to serve both law firms.
“The assertion that we must also serve AF Mpanga Advocates with the amended counterclaim is spurious and superfluous,” they argued.
“The legal requirement under Order 5 Rule 10 is to serve the defendant or his agent – not his agents. The number of lawyers that the client wishes to engage is an internal matter.”
KAA add that on August 11th, they served Bank of Uganda, the second respondent in the case, with Sudhir’s counterclaim and receipt was acknowledged by BOU Secretary, who stamped the copies and returned them.
“To date, Bank of Uganda has elected to ignore the legal requirement to put in a defence in answer to the claim against it,” KAA wrote to court.
However, according to MAAKS, from August 14th, (the date of service) today August 29th was supposed to be the last of the 15days in which to file a response.
They therefore termed Sudhir’s application for a judgment on default as “premature,” stating that it should have been filed tomorrow Wednesday, if they failed to file a response by close of business today.
Officials at Bank of Uganda informed Chimpreports shortly before publication of this story that they had successfully filed their response.