Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has deployed private security guards around Zamo Building along Kampala Road in Masaka City as part of its initial steps to take over the property after former state minister for investment, Muhammad Muyanja Mbabaali, who owns the building allegedly failed to clear a loan he acquired.
In 2021, DTB through their lawyers, MMAKS Advocates and Trust General Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs advertised in the media that they would dispose of at least five of Hajj Mbabaali’ s commercial buildings and prime plots of land in Kampala, Mpigi and Masaka City claiming the company MFK Corporation and its proprietor Hajj Mbabaali which had obtained a loan from the bank had failed to clear the debt.
Some of the properties which were lined up for sale include; LRV 3657 Folio 6, Block 253 Plot 34 at Nkozi Trading Centre in Mawokota, Mpigi District, which is registered in the name of Hajj Muhammad Muyanja Mbabaali, a commercial building on Plot 39 Kampala Road in Masaka City, sitting on 0.093ha, LRV 1537 Folio 7 Plot 54, Block “B” Ntinda, Kampala among others. The bailiffs had planned to commence the sale of the properties on August 17, 2021.
However, Hajj Mbabaali ran to court to block the sale of his properties worth billions of shillings following notices by bailiffs moving to auction his properties. He secured a caveat from the High Court of Uganda (commercial division) instructing bailiff acting on orders of Diamond Trust Bank to halt the exercise since the bank had failed to furnish court with accounts of all financial dealings and finances belonging to MFK Cooperation Ltd. All properties claimed to be securities given to it by MFK Corporation Ltd.
The bank however, proceeded to auction Zamo Building to Masaka businessman, Mr Robert Ssekigye, who has since asked DTB to provide vacant possession of the property.
Late last month, DTB shifted its Masaka Branch that was operating in the building to a new location along Elgin Street to pave way for the takeover.
DTB through their lawyers MMAKS Advocates, early this month wrote to the police seeking security services in respect of all the properties under dispute.
In a letter dated November,n21 2022 addressed, to the Greater Masaka Regional police commander from police headquarters signed by commissioner private security organisations and private firearms, Mr Charles Ssebambulide, instructed the RPC to supervise the deployment by the private security guards deployed at the disputed building ,adding that he should ensure deployment of at least two armed guards.
The tenants were however, left stranded after they found the building closed on Friday morning with security guards surrounding it.
Some of the affected tenants include Premier Credit, a financial institution that offers loans, advocates offices and other businesses.
Mr Alexander Lule, the proprietor of Xander Advocates, said their operations had been paralysed as both his staff and clients could not access their office.
“I had a matter in Kalangala and Masaka courts but I cannot access my office. This siege has a great impact on my clients and my work, and we are suffering because of the bank, and the owner of the property who are still in court battles,” he added.
However, Patrick Mugisha, one of the lawyers of MFK Cooperation Limited, said they have since returned to court seeking a temporary injunction to restrain DTB, Robert Ssekigye and Commissioner Land Registration and their agents from disposing of the buildings.
“We are hopeful that the court ruling will be in our favour because the respondents disposed of the property irregularly. We had secured a court order stopping them from proceeding with the transaction but they adamantly went ahead and sold them off,” he added.
On his part, Mr Ssekigye asked the conflicting parties to settle their misunderstandings and hand over his property or else the bank refunds his money. He however, declined to disclose the amount of money he bought the building.