Aya not for liquidation - court

The Pearl of Africa Hotel at Nakasero that is owned by AYA Group Chairman, Mr Mohammed Hamid. PHOTO/JOSEPH KIGGUNDU

What you need to know:

  • The court says the hotel is not struggling financially or indebted as claimed.

The Commercial Division of the High Court has set aside a liquidation order it had issued against Aya Investments Limited for failure to pay money owed to Fresh Cuts Uganda Limited.
 The court also terminated the services of the official receiver it had appointed to work as a provisional liquidator.
 The court on Wednesday morning endorsed a consent agreement filed by both Aya Investments and Fresh Cuts Uganda Limited.
 Fresh Cuts working through its lawyers, filed for and obtained a liquidation order against Aya Investments Limited on February 15, 2023 for failure to pay debts amounting to Shs70 million. The firm sought to recover the said money under insolvency regulations.
 On February 23, Lady Justice Anna B. Mugenyi, invoking Section 92 of the Insolvency Act which empowers court to appoint a liquidator upon an application by a creditor, issued an order of liquidation against Aya Investments. 
 The judge found that Ms Fresh Cuts Uganda Limited had proved Aya’s unfulfilled indebtedness to Fresh Cuts.
 “Subsequently, pursuant to the insolvency Act, I find that the respondent (Aya Investments) is insolvent  and that the petitioner (Fresh Cuts) has satisfied all conditions necessary for the grant of an order appointing a liquidator against the respondent/debtor (Aya Investments)” Justice Mugenyi ruled.
 However, copies of the latest court documents, including affidavits filed by both Mr Abdullatif Hamid, the chairman of Aya Investments, and Mr Amos Tindiyebwa, the Managing Director of Fresh Cuts Uganda Limited, indicate that the debt on which the court based to its liquidation order had been paid. 
An affidavit that Mr Abdullatif Hamid filed in court on April 27, proved payment before court pronounced itself on the matter.
 “I, on behalf of Aya Investments Uganda Limited, had paid the decretal sum of Shs70 million as a full and final settlement of the claim in the bankruptcy cause 03 of 2022 before the decision of this Honourable Court,” Mr Hamid’s affidavit reads.
 Mr Hamid told court that as he travelled out of the country immediately after he had made the payment there may have been a breakdown in communication between Aya and Fresh Cuts.

Mr Tindiyebwa confirmed Mr Hamid’s statement to court.
 “It is indeed true that the applicant paid the amount of Shs70 million that satisfied the existing debt before the order of liquidation was issued by court,” Mr Tindiyebwa’s affidavit read in parts.
 Around business circles in Kampala there has recently been some speculation about the future of Aya Investments Limited’s operations in Uganda.
 When on April 11, a Mr Robert Mugabe was appointed as the official receiver and provisional liquidator the rumours spread further even as he invited persons owed by Aya to file their documents with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

 However, Aya Investments, through its lawyer, Mr Fox Odoi, questioned the decision to place the company under receivership.
Mr Odoi argues that the decision was not based on an assessment to establish whether or not Aya Investments had the capacity to clear its debts.
“We know that there are creditors who have since filed their documents with the URSB, but those debtors were not verified. We are still in court with some of those who claim to be creditors. The official receiver has to verify all company documents before beginning the process of one’s liquidation,” Mr Odoi said,