The International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration in London has ruled that businessman Patrick Bitature is required to repay more than $65.7 million (approximately Shs244 billion) to Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership, a South African investment fund, due to default risks. The sole arbitrator, Prof Fidfelis Oditah KC, SAN, delivered the orders on July 31.
According to the arbitration ruling, Bitature and his affiliated companies were found in breach of contract. The arbitrator stated that Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership was successful in their claims, though damages for breach of contract were not allowed. Prof Oditah highlighted Bitature’s obstructive and unreasonable approach to the arbitration process as a factor in the decision.
The dispute originated in 2014 when Vantage reportedly lent Bitature $10 million (about Shs37 billion) to invest in the Moyo Close Apartments and Skyz Hotel in Naguru, both of which were under construction at the time. The South African company claimed that Bitature and his entities failed to repay the loan, and attempts to enforce securities were met with legal challenges initiated by Bitature.
The arbitrator’s ruling stipulates that Bitature must repay $25.4 million (about Shs94.4 billion) for breach of contract, and his companies (Simba Telecom, Linda Properties, and Elgon Terrace Hotel) are collectively required to pay $35.8 million (about Shs133 billion) as an outstanding balance as of February 16, 2023, along with additional costs.
Efforts to contact Bitature for comment were unsuccessful. His lawyer, Mr. Fred Muwema, stated that they would consult with their client before discussing the way forward.
This arbitration decision concludes a lengthy legal process that included numerous legal suits that hindered Vantage’s attempts to auction properties owned by Bitature. The businessman’s hotels and other properties, held under his real estate company Simba Properties Investment Company Limited (Uganda), were mortgaged as part of the dispute.
The ruling sheds light on the complex legal and financial dynamics surrounding business disputes and the enforcement of contracts involving large sums of money across international borders.
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