Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Commercial Court wrongly awarded businessman Hamis Kiggundu Shillings 120 billion in his case against Diamond Trust Bank-DTB, according to the Court of Appeal Justices. Delivering their ruling this afternoon, a panel of three Justices of the Court of Appeal comprising the Deputy Chief Justice, Richard Buteera and Justices Kenneth Kakuru and Christopher Izama Madrama, faulted Commercial Court Judge, Henry Peter Adonyo for failing to hear and determine the case based on its merit and instead relied on a mere point of law arising from the proceedings.
They noted that this principle only applies in the event that the defendant fails to file his defence to the suit. They however noted that this wasn’t the case in the matter before court because DTB filed a written defense that the Judge never addressed his mind before awarding Kiggundu Shillings 120 billion. The justices have ordered that the matter returns to another Commercial Court Judge for retrial and directed Kiggundu to pay costs of the appeal to the two banks represented by Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
The orders arise from an appeal filed by DTB Kenya and DTB Uganda challenging commercial court compensation order on the grounds that the Judge didn’t address his mind to the evidence on record relating to breach of contract, fraud and statutory issues. Kiggundu’s lawyers led by Fred Muwema told journalists shortly after the court ruling that they will proceed to the Supreme Court, East African Court of Justice and Kenyan Courts to challenge the issues arising from their case.
Details of the Appeal
It stems from the October 2020 decision by Commercial Court Judge Henry Peter Adonyo ordering DTB Uganda to refund all monies deducted from Kiggundu’s accounts in a case involving a syndicated banking agreement between Uganda and DTB Kenya.
The banks reportedly deducted the money from Ham Enterprises Ltd and Kiggs International Ltd, which belong to Kiggundu without his consent. According to the evidence before the court, between 2011 and 2016, Kiggundu secured loans worth more than Shillings 120 billion from DTB Uganda and Kenya through Ham Enterprises Ltd and Kiggs International Ltd to finance his real estate business.
However, the banks served Kiggundu with documents indicating that he had failed to service the loans to the tune of Shillings 39 billion in line with their agreement and threatened to take over his collateral.
This prompted Kiggundu to petition the commercial court, saying that the money withdrawn from his dollar and Shillings accounts was in excess despite paying back his loan in full.
Through his lawyer Fred Muwema, Kiggundu asked the court to strike out the defences of both banks and order them to refund the money illegally withdrawn from his account. Justice Adonyo dismissed the bank’s defence and ordered them to refund the monies withdrawn from the businessman’s account with the interest of 8% and costs of the suit.
Dissatisfied with the decision, the banks petitioned Principal Judge Dr. Flavian Zeija where they secured an order for stay of execution of the commercial court orders meaning that Kiggundu cannot commence the recovery of the said monies before they petitioned the appellant court.