By Spy Uganda
Vantage Capital has shot back at tycoon Patrick Bitature saying his tricks and loan behaviors scare away international investors, especially those who hoped to carry financial businesses in Uganda.
Simba Properties Investment Company Limited (SPIC) (as borrower) and Patrick Bitature (as guarantor and promotor) borrowed US$10,000,000 (Loan) from Vantage to refinance a portion of the Simba Groups’ existing debt and to fund the completion of Simba’s Skyz Hotel in 2014 but since then, Bitature has never paid any single coin arguing that the company isn’t legally registered in Uganda and therefore can’t make mistake to carry out any business with ‘an illegal company’.
”We note that the behavior of the Simba Group and Mr. Bitature in borrowing money from international lenders and then denying its obligations does not reflect well on Uganda’s international image as an investment destination, nor does the ease at which the Simba Group has been able to abuse the legal system and its institutions to frustrate its lawful creditors. However, we remain faithful and confident that justice will ultimately prevail,” says Vantage Capital in a public notice.
According to Vantage, the 2014 loan matured and fell due for repayment in December 2019. but instead of making efforts to repay the Loan, the Simba Group and Bitature resorted to litigation, claiming that Vantage’s Loan was invalid and signed under duress and therefore Simba, having used the money, did not have to repay it.
”Unfortunately, such tactics have been employed by Bitature before, both against Vantage and against other Simba Group lenders, including a South African bank. All of the above took place well before the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic,” adds Vantage.
Bitature and the Simba Group granted security for the above-mentioned loan in the form of charges over their shares and legal mortgages were registered over certain properties owned by them (Security).
Recently, the URSB blocked Vantage’s attempt to exercise its security rights over Simba Group’s shares. Vantage approached the High Court of Uganda to compel the URSB to give effect to its legitimate share charges. The court dismissed Vantage’s application based on a technicality, that the Vantage Partnership in question was not registered in Uganda and therefore lacked the standing to sue or be sued in Uganda.
”In the present case, the applicant contends that it is a partnership, which means that it must comply with the law which requires registration in order to have the capacity to sue or to be sued in Uganda. The applicant’s status as a recognized entity in South Africa has not been proved to the satisfaction of this court since there is no single registered document that has been produced before this court apart from a few pages of the unregistered partnership agreement,” High Court Justice Musa Ssekaana ruled on 9th May 2022 before he again trashed Vantage’s judicial review application on the same matter.
However, in Vantage’s public notice, it contends that despite the above ruling, it is not ready to give up on squeezing Bitature in all angels to cough their money amounting to US$34,000,000 (loan and interests).
”Vantage will not be deterred by the Simba Group’s and Bitature’s ‘continued abuse of court processes and public institutions, nor by their recent “PR campaign”, in their ongoing efforts to avoid their creditors and lawful obligations. Vantage will persist in the recovery of its long-overdue Loan, exercising its rights against the Security if need be.”
Vantage Capital is an Africa-focused fund manager with offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. Vantage was founded in 2001 and has to date raised funds of over US$1.4 billion. Vantage’s Mezzanine Division has made 33 investments in 11 African countries.