What you need to know:
- Mr Kiggundu through his lawyers led by Mr Fred Muwema sought judgment on DTB management’s admission that the bank operated without a required license, resulting in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from his bank accounts
There was drama at the Supreme Court Thursday morning after the court declined to fix the hearing date for an application in which businessman Hamis Kiggundu is seeking to recover Shs120 billion from Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and Kenya.
Mr Kiggundu through his lawyers led by Mr Fred Muwema sought judgment on DTB management’s admission that the bank operated without a required license, resulting in the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from his bank accounts.
During a pretrial hearing before Justice Elizabeth Musoke, the DTB lawyers, led by Edwin Karugire, contended that the application was irrelevant as the main appeal was heard in November 2021.
Karugire explained that a panel, consisting of Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, Faith Mwondha, Percy Night Tuhaise, Mike Chibita, and the late Opio Aweri, had reviewed the case. Karugire further mentioned that a new panel, including Justice Musota, was formed after Aweri's death and that Kiggundu's lawyers had nothing additional to contribute during the submission process. In response, Muwema clarified that the hearing was intended for administrative matters and argued that DTB's submissions revealed admissions of illegal operations without a license and raised new grounds.
Mr Muwema stated that they had written to the court on May 2, 2023, demanding a hearing of their application and entry of judgment on admission, but they were informed that they would only be entertained regarding the new panel. The Supreme Court Registrar had assured them of a new hearing date for their specific application, but their attempts to follow up had been unsuccessful.
He also wondered why the court invited them for the pre-hearing session if the application was untenable.
“You have called us for a pre-hearing of our application because you know it exists. All we are asking for is, to treat us fairly and equally like other litigants. We are asking for our day in court to see whether the application has merit or not but it is being determined in a summary manner,” he argued.
But the presiding judge Elizabeth Musoke explained that the parties were invited for a pre-trial but the records showed that the case awaits judgement.
On hearing this, Mr Kiggundu who had a big following stood up and protested against the court’s denial to hear his application but instead sets a judgement date of June 13, 2023.
The angry businessman noted that he was not yet ready to give up on the unfairness he is getting.
“Not even judges have been spared from this kind of impunity, how about the ordinally Ugandans,” he said.
The appeal pending judgement before the Supreme Court followed a May 2021 decision of the Court of Appeal directing the matter to be heard afresh by the High Court.
It followed an October 2020 judgment in which Justice Peter Adonyo ordered DTB Bank to refund all the money deducted from Mr Kiggundu’s accounts illegally.
The judge also ordered the bank to return all the securities that Mr Kiggundu had deposited in the bank.