HAM vs DTB: Tycoon Ham Awaits Judgment As AG Kiwanuka’s Dual Role Raises Questions On Impartiality

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The never-ending legal battle between Businessman Hamis Kiggundu alais Ham and Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has ignited a significant debate surrounding the independence of Uganda’s judiciary and the potential influence of politics in legal proceedings.

The case, which centres on DTB’s admission of illegalities committed and documented on court records, has become a litmus test for the country’s legal structures and the judiciary’s ability to uphold the law.

At the heart of the controversy, concern has been raised about the political influence wielded by Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka and his legal partner Mr Edwin Karugire of Kiwanuka and Karugire Company Advocates with concerned individuals and legal scholars are questioning whether their positions and connections could potentially protect Diamond Trust Bank from the illegal actions it has admitted to committing.

“Based on the fact that non-tolerance of illegalities in all courts of law is the baseline of all legal structures and Judicial proceedings internationally, this case is a weighing scale on the independence of the Ugandan Judiciary.”

Another critical point of scrutiny is Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s dual role as both the Attorney General and a partner in K&K Advocates, the defence firm of the embattled bank. This raises doubts about the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.

The potential conflict of interest in such a scenario has further fueled concerns that the outcome of the case could be compromised.

Can Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s political influence as current Attorney General and Mr Karugire’s Marital status Save Diamond Trust Bank from the illegalities committed and admitted on Court records or this case is a beam of hope to all Ugandans as a solution to this cancer of exploitative foreign banks that unlawfully debit monies from Ugandans’ accounts?

In any given society once politicians and public servants start financially competing with the private business community, it compromises social-economic development and upward transformation of the society at large as they start using their positions to undermine all structures, systems and policies put in place to carry the nation forward.

Businessman Ham Kiggundu’s application for judgment

Quick Notes to take

Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) unlawfully debited UGX. 120 Billion from Ham Enterprises (U) Limited accounts and admitted to committing illegalities at the high court on court records when Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka told the court that DTB had no license to operate in Uganda and judgment was made in favour of Ham Enterprises at the high court for recovery of the debited monies from the bank.

The bank and its lawyers of K&K Advocates before the Supreme Court in 2021 and admitted failure of the Court of Appeal to address the substantial point of illegality in their submission of 5th November 2021.

On 11 November 2021, Ham filed an application stating that DTB had concurred with him that the Court of Appeal (COA) justices; Richard Buteera, Christopher Madrama, and Keneth Kakuma, did not address the issues of illegality contrary to the provisions of the financial institutions act on which grounds judgment was rightfully entered at the high court.

DTB and its lawyers, K & K advocates, have also admitted to the failure of the Court of Appeal to address the substantial point of illegality in their submissions.

Ham Enterprises filed an application highlighting that the Court of Appeal justices did not address the issues of illegality as per the provisions of the Financial Institutions Act. As a result, the case now awaits a judgment on admission, while DTB remains entangled in the admissions it made on court records at both the high court and the Supreme Court.

The outcome of this case raises several crucial questions.

  1. Can the Ugandan Supreme Court shield an illegality contrary to international standards for judicial proceedings?
  2. Will Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s political influence and Mr Karugire’s marital status impact the resolution of the case?
  3. Is Kiryowa Kiwanuka’s dual role as Attorney General and partner in K & K advocate a conflict of interest that compromises the independence of the judiciary?
  4. Can Diamond Trust Bank evade legal consequences due to weak legal structures and policies in the country?
  5. And finally, will this case serve as a turning point for Ugandans dealing with exploitative and poorly regulated foreign banks?

A panel of esteemed judges, including the Chief Justice of Uganda, has been selected to decide the case based on the court records and Ham Enterprises’ application for judgment on admission. The outcome of this high-profile case will not only determine the fate of Ham Enterprises and DTB but also set a precedent for the Ugandan judicial system. It will test the strength of the judiciary to administer justice and uphold the law in the face of potential political pressure.

The resolution of this case holds the potential to shape the future of banking regulations, legal procedures, and the protection of constitutional rights for all Ugandans.

Background of the Case.

The genesis of the saga began in March 2020, when businessman Hamis Kiggundu through his lawyers Fred Muwema of Muwema and Co Advocates filed a suit against DTB for unlawful debit of monies in excess of UGX 120 Billion from his accounts.

The bank unlawfully and deceitfully withdrew these amounts over a spread period of 10 years in excess of all the companies liabilities to the bank on top of which Kirwowa Kiwanuka admitted on court records in September 2020, that DTB Kenya did not have a license permitting it to conduct banking business in Uganda and neither did DTB Uganda have the authority to conduct agency business on behalf of DTB Kenya thereby contravening sections; 4 (1) and 117 of the Financial Institutions Act and the banking regulations.

On October 7, 2020, a judgment was entered in favour of Ham Enterprises (U) Limited at the high court by Hon Justice Henry Peter Adonyo.

Karugire and Kilyowa Kiwanuka using their political influence resultantly demoted and transferred the said judge immediately from the head of the High Court, Commercial Division to Soroti.

Now that the public has witnessed K&K advocates controlling judges and influencing judgements in their favour in so many cases, victimizing and subjecting Ugandans to unfair and unjust political waves that always frustrate justice using political positions undermining the legal procedures with total absolute impunity, can they Successfully, Politically bulldoze the Supreme Court, or the law shall prevail?

Diamond Trust Bank admitted on court records by their submissions that they committed illegalities where they emphasized that; “The Court of Appeal justices erred at law when they failed to address the Substantial point of illegality upon which judgment was rightfully entered at the high court specifically stating that: “The learned Justices were entitled to first deal with the grounds regarding the procedure adopted by the trial Judge in striking out the defendants’ pleadings and granting the impugned orders before dealing with the other grounds.”

It was within these admissions in the bank’s submissions that they clearly stated that the appellant Judges never addressed the circumstances under which the Bank never sought the permission of the Bank of Uganda to carry out its business in Uganda as required hence violating sections; 4 (1) and 117 of the Financial Institutions Act.

Ham’s grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court is that the justices at the Court of Appeal failed to address the substantial issue of illegality as rightfully ruled at High Court since DTB admits the same, Ham made an application for judgment on admission on the 23rd November 2021.

Till today, Ham Enterprises (u) Limited awaits judgment on court admission while DTB is stuck with the illegality as admitted both on court records from the high court and the admissions on court record in their submissions at the supreme court.

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