By Andrew Irumba
City businessman Godfrey Kirumira and dfcu bank have been ordered by the high court commercial division to cough over Shs600m, as compensation for a school they grabbed from a city businessman and his wife.
Court ordered Kirumira to compensate Stephen Sendagire and his wife, Gladys Nanyombi, the former proprietors of Bright Future Vocational Senior Secondary School Shs200 for fraudulently grabbing their school, after they allegedly failed to service a loan they had with dfcu bank.
In her judgment read by the commercial court registrar, Lillian Buchana on Monday, Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza noted that although the process leading to the sale of the property was okay it was marred by lack of transparency and undervaluing of the property.
She also noted that the testimony of Kirumira concerning the takeover of the school contradicted that of other witnesses.
Kirumira was jointly sued with dfcu Bank and Kabiito Kenneth Karamagi in 2008.
Sendagire and Nanyombi accused dfcu bank of selling off their property worth Shs1.4Bn to Kirumira at only Shs300m, despite the fact that there were other people offering more money.
It all started when the couple mortgaged the school for a loan of Shs460m in 2005.
However, court documents show that the couple only received Shs315 million between May 2005 and May 2006.
Dfcu was faulted for having connived with Karamagi who acted as the receiver, before dfcu fraudulently sold it to Kirumira, after Karanagi declaring the school a residential and undeveloped property.
However, Karamagi told court that there was a valuation report, which showed that the property in question was valued at Shs550m although it was instead sold at Shs300m.
Kirumira reportedly stated that he took over the school on December 10th 2007 after Karamagi took him to the area Chairperson. He explained that shortly after he sent his guards to guard the property.
However, this contradicted Karamagi’s testimony who said he was never involved in the takeover of the school. Evidence before court also shows that Kirumira took over the school on January 1st, 2008.
Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza said the applicants lost their school, saying it is impossible to restore them to their previous status.
She therefore ruled that they are entitled to the difference between undervalue and the best price of the suit property.
“If the defendants (respondents) had exercised reasonable care they would have got the best price”, said Alividza.
She therefore directed dfcu bank to pay the couple Shs100m, and Kirumira Shs200m at 21 percent interest since 2008 until full payment is made as compensation, plus damages and costs of the suit with total to Shs400m, plus returning movable properties like computers, desks, cabinet files etc that Kirumira stole from the school.
However, Kirumira, who was represented by his lawyer Isaac Walugembe said he is going to appeal the ruling.