The Commercial Court in Kampala has ordered city law firm, Ssebalu and Lule Advocates not to represent dfcu Bank in a case against Sudhir Ruparelia’s Crane Management Services over conflict of interest.
Crane Management Services owned by Sudhir last year sued dfcu bank over rental arrears amounting to Shs2.9b and $385,728.54 in respect of tenancies of suit properties that were formally owned by Crane Bank and have since been sold to dfcu bank by Bank of Uganda and Ssebalu was representing dfcu in the matter.
On Monday, Justice Paul Gadenya ruled that the lawyers received instructions given by both email and through a telephone conversation and among them were tenancy agreements, it’s therefore true that there is confidential information that Ssebalu and Lule Advocates got and cannot be allowed in the matter.
“I hold that the applicant (Sudhir) has made out a case that the first respondent (law firm) are in possession of confidential information which is relevant, current and related to the suit and would make them conflicted against the applicant,” the judge said in his ruling read by the court’s deputy registrar Festo Nsenga.
The judge noted that in the course of their duties, the law firm must have obtained more information either passively or actively through interaction with one of the directors of Meera Investments and so cannot represent dfcu against Sudhir’s company.
“It is even more worrying that if it is true that fraud and illegalities were involved in these tenancies, then the first respondent (law firm) is likely to be called as a witness in the case to shed more light to tenancy agreements signed in 2016 and are based on their prepared templates.”
The judge issued an injunction restraining Ssebalu and Lule Company Advocates from representing dfcu in a case against Sudhir Ruparelia’s companies.
“The respondents will pay the costs of this application, ”he ruled.