Lawyers Timothy Masembe and David Mpanga of MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates have accused Commercial Court judge David Wangutusi of blundering when he disqualified them from representing Bank of Uganda in a case involving businessman Sudhir Ruparelia .
On Thursday, Justice Wangutusi ruled that the two lawyers who have been Sudhir’s lawyers for over ten years were privy to confidential information yet they will be used as the property mogul’s witnesses in the case against Bank of Uganda making it impossible to represent the latter.
Addressing journalists shortly after the ruling, David Mpanga who spoke for both firms said they are inclined to appeal the ruling which they said was unfair.
“We believe the judge didn’t consider facts and law. We think there are fundamental issues at stake that were left out by the judge,”Mpanga told journalists.
“We never acted or received instructions from Sudhir but rather Crane Bank even after receivership.”
In his ruling read by registrar Lilian Buchana, Justice Wangutusi said there was evidence of conflict of interest by the two lawyers and that they ought to be disqualified from the case.
The seasoned lawyer explained that the Court of Appeal will need to make a number of interpretations in regards to the status of the two law firms in representing Sudhir and Crane Bank.
“We cited a number of authorities from Uganda and England but were never considered. We think there is a high chance of succeeding in the appellant court.”
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.
Mpanga added that the ruling on Thursday morning was only a side show from the main one in which the central bank seeks to recover money from the city businessman injected into the bank after receivership in a bid to pay off its customers.
“We think Bank of Uganda is entitled to us as its lawyers and the other party cannot choose which lawyers to represent the bank.We have fourteen days to appeal and we shall do it within that period.”