The Commercial Court in Kampala has on Thursday morning ruled to kick lawyers Timothy Masembe and David Mpanga of MMAkS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates respectively from the case between Sudhir Ruparelia and Bank of Uganda.
Sudhir through his lawyers of Kampala Associated advocates lodged a complaint saying that the two lawyers and their firms are his potential witnesses and therefore cannot continue representing Bank of Uganda citing conflict of interest having represented him and the defunct Crane Bank in the past.
In his ruling read by Commercial Court Registrar Lilian Buchana, Justice David Mwangutusi ruled that evidence shows that the two law firms have in the past had Sudhir Ruparelia and his Cranes Bank as clients adding that an implementation agreement signed between David Mpanga and Sudhir early this year which is also at the centre of Sudhir’s counter claim against Bank of Uganda is a clear indicator that the lawyer cannot represent the Central bank in the same case.
“They were close to Sudhir who was their client and a lot of information must have flown from one party to the other. The lawyers could have acquired secrets and therefore there is a possibility of disclosure of some of the secrets by the lawyers,”Mwangutusi said.
As part of his defence, Sudhir claims that Mpanga drafted the document containing evidence to be used as his defence and as such is a potential witness in the matter in High Court.
Mwangutusi concurred with Sudhir’s argument adding that there is a big conflict of interest from Mpanga, adding that the same cannot be allowed to be lawyer for Bank of Uganda yet at the same time a witness for Sudhir in the same matter.
“I find that there will be a conflict of interest from the lawyers and on those grounds, they are disqualified from the case,”he ruled.
Masembe and Mpanga’s lawyers led by Moses Adriko however told the registrar that they are not satisfied with the ruling, adding that they would soon appeal against the decision of the court.
“We request to be availed with the ruling in full and by the end of the day we shall file a notice of intension to sue,”Adriko said.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the case, Sudhir Ruparelia said he could not allow ‘conflicted’ lawyers continue to take part in the case adding that the suit in High Court can now move on smoothly.
“Justice will always prevail in the end. We can now move to the next stage of mediation as long as the conflicted lawyers are out of the case,”Sudhir said.
He however vowed to write to write to the law society of England where the two lawyers are affiliated in a bid to ‘expose’ them.
Bank of Uganda sued property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia for allegedly stealing Shs397 billion from his defunct Crane Bank and the former was supposed to be represented by Timothy Masembe and David Mpanga of MMAkS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates respectively.