Supreme Court Conference in Uganda Sets Stage for High-Stakes Legal Battles, more than dozen law firms summoned
The Supreme Court of Uganda is gearing up for a crucial pre-hearing conference that promises to shape the outcome of several high-profile legal battles. Scheduled to take place following a summons signed by Supreme Court Registrar Harriet Ssali Nalukwago on May 29th, 2023, the conference aims to determine hearing dates, establish argument formats, and set time frames for filing written submissions. Notably, the invited lawyers are informed that court robes will not be necessary for this conference.
The summons has been sent to a wide range of law firms, including prominent names such as Muwema and Company Advocates, Kimanje Nsibambi Advocates, AF Mpanga Advocates, Magezi, Ibale and Company Advocates, Mujuzi and Company Advocates, MRK Advocates, Rwakafuuzi and Company Advocates, Mugerwa Kusaasira and Company Advocates, Sebalu and Lule Advocates, Mmaks Advocates, the Legal Department of National Forestry Authority, Akampumuza and Company Advocates, Jjingo Ssempijja and Company Advocates, Mujuzi and Company Advocates, Okello Oryem and Company Advocates, Abaine Buregyeya and Company Advocates, and the legal representatives of Bank of Uganda in the application filed by Christopher Kisembo and Another against the Cooperative Bank Limited in Liquidation.
One of the most prominent public interest cases to be discussed during the pre-hearing is the application filed by City businessman Hamis Kiggundu against Diamond Trust Bank Uganda and Diamond Trust Bank Kenya. Kiggundu is seeking a judgment on admission, arguing that DTB’s lawyers had previously admitted in lower court records that their client operated without a license, contravening the Financial Institutions Act of Uganda.
Kiggundu alleges that an astronomical sum of over 120 billion Ugandan Shillings was fraudulently withdrawn from his bank accounts without his consent or approval during the period of his loan acquisition between 2011 and 2016. To support his claim, Kiggundu’s legal team has requested that judgment be entered on admission under Order 13 Rule 6 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which empowers courts to issue judgments based on admissions of facts made in pleadings or at any stage of the suit.
The Commercial Court previously ruled in favor of Kiggundu, considering both the admission of facts by DTB’s lawyers and the illegal nature of DTB Kenya’s operations when granting the loan. However, DTB’s legal team is strongly advocating for the Supreme Court Justices to disregard the judgment on admission and refer the matter back to the High Court Commercial Division for a fresh hearing, as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
DTB’s lawyers assert that the consequences of Kiggundu’s application being decided in his favor could be far-reaching, potentially impacting the banking sector and the wider economy. They contend that the main appeal cannot be appropriately determined without first resolving this pivotal application.
Among the other public interest cases slated for pre-hearing at the conference are Dembe Trading Enterprises Limited versus Birungi Cephas Kagyenda, Remegio Obwana versus the Registered Trustees of Tororo Diocese, Vivo Energy Uganda Limited versus Lydia Kisitu, and Sadick Kakaire and Another versus Uganda National Examinations Board, among others.
As the legal fraternity awaits the pre-hearing conference, all eyes are on the Supreme Court of Uganda, recognizing the significant ramifications that the outcomes of these high-stakes legal battles could have on various sectors and the wider society as a whole.
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