By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: City property mogul and Chairman UMEME Ltd, who also doubles as Chairman Simba Group, Patrick Bitature has termed as ‘fake news’ an auction advert by Quickway Auctioneers & Court Bailifs purporting to have been contracted by Kirunda and Wasike Co.Advocates to auction his multi billion properties around Kampala after he allegedly failed to pay a loan amounting to UGX100B.
Properties purportedly put on auction are under Simba Telecom Limited and Simba property investments Ltd, and they include;
- Protea Hotel-Naguru (Skyz Hotel)
- Elizabeth Royal Apartments
- LRV3891 Folio 18 plot 1 water lane Naguru, Kampala
- LRV3895 Folio 3 plot 5 water lane Naguru, Kampala
- LRV3895 Folio 4 plot 3 water lane Naguru, Kampala
- LRV3435 Folio 10 plot 12 water lane Naguru, Kampala.
”It is a malicious advert whose sole purpose is to alarm and cause irreparable damage to our client’s business and reputation. Our client’s properties are not liable to be advertised for sale by any mortgagee purported to be represented by Kirunda & Wasige Advocates and Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs,” states a public notice inked by Bitature’s lawyer of Muwema & Co.Advocates.
This whole saga stems from 2014 when Bitature got ten million US dollars (Ush36 billion) in funding from South African loan provider, Vantage Capital.
The loan was made to Simba Properties Investment Company, the property investment arm of Simba Group. Bitature reportedly took the loan aiming to expand his real estate portfolio.
Bitature, through his lawyers doesn’t deny that he received the money but has since then never paid a penny, why?, he argues that the company isn’t legally registered in Uganda and therefore can’t carry out any business, let alone borrowing billions of money to him! Bitature’s debt, according to sources had swollen close to thirty million US dollars (Ush100 billion), of which, instead of paying back, he changed gears and asked for legal paperwork for the company that borrowed him.
Bitature’s opinion was indeed cemented by Hon. Justice Musa Ssekaana of the High Court when he declared in Misc. Cause No. 205 of 2021 Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership vs Simba Properties Investment Co. Ltd, that Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership is a non-existent legal entity which had no locus standi to file the suit.
”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 capacity to sue or to be sued in Uganda. The applicant’s status as a recognized entity in South Africa has not be 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,” ruled Ssekaana.
He added, ”In the same vain, this Court rejects the submission of counsel for the applicant, that foreign partnerships are free to operate in Uganda outside the regulatory registration requirements contained in the Partnerships Act, 2010 and the Business Names Registration Act (Cap 109). Therefore, the international partnerships or foreign partnerships just like the Ugandan partnership cannot be recognized once they are not registered since their identities are unknown and it may open the door wide for fraud in their transactions and dealings.”
Now, Bitature, through his lawyer has threatened to sue Daily Monitor for running the said story with ‘disregard’ to the above mentioned court ruling.
”Our client has therefore instructed us to exercise the ghost of the non-existent Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership by taking the appropriate compensatory legal action against its promoters, lawyers, Auctioneers and Monitor newspaper for the offensive publication,” says Muwema & Co.Advocates.
Others to be sued by the man from Buhweju are auctioneers of Quickway Auctioneers & Court Bailifs and Kirunda & Co.Advocates for manufacturing what he calls fake news and spread the same with intent to malice his business beyond repair.