Court allows private criminal prosecution against South African lenders in Bitature fraud case

The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has allowed a private criminal prosecution against the directors of Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership, a South African lender.

Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership is the company that lent about shs360 billion($10 million) to businessman, Patrick Bitature is a case that is still raging on.

Earlier this year, lawyer Wycliff Atuhairwe practicing with Moogi Brian & Company Advocates petitioned Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court against the three directors of Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership whom he said have since 2014 been operating moneylending business in the country illegally without being registered and without a licence.

The lawyer said that in 2014, the South African lender extended a loan to businessman Patrick Bitature and has since then been operating in the country illegally which is an offence.

He asked court to allow the private criminal prosecution against Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership for flouting Ugandan laws.

Court gives greenlight

In her decision, acting Buganda Road Principal Grade One magistrate, Winnie Nankya  gave a greenlight to the private criminal prosecution against the directors of Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership including Warren Van Der Mernse, Mokgome Mogoba and Drek Alexander.

“The applicant has satisfied all the statutory and  or procedural requirements necessary to commence a private criminal prosecution against the respondents .Leave is granted to the applicant to commence a private criminal prosecution against the respondents upon the contents and averments contained in the complaint on oath and its supporting affidavit,” the Buganda Road magistrate said.

She consequently sanctioned charges of conducting a money lending business in the country without a valid licence contrary to section 84(1)(a) of the Tier 4 Microfinance Institutions and Money Lenders Act,2O16.

The court has also issued criminal summons against the three directors of the South African lender.

They are set to appear in court on March, 22.

 

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