Ex-Minister Mbabaali loses bid to block bank from taking over his properties

Private security guards deployed at Zamo Building along Kampala Road in Masaka City on November 25, 2022. PHOTO | MALIK FAHAD JJINGO

The High Court in Masaka has thrown out an application by former state minister for investment, Hajj Muhammad Muyanja Mbabaali, seeking to block the takeover of his properties by the Diamond Trust Bank (DTB).

Hajj Mbabaali through his lawyers had run to court seeking a temporary injunction to restrain DTB, Robert Ssekigye, and Commissioner Land Registration, and their agents from disposing of the buildings.

 However, the Masaka Deputy registrar Julius K. Borore in the presence of lawyers Ms Robinah Nagadya for the applicant and Mr Stephen Zimula for the respondents in the absence of both parties dismissed the application saying the matter had been overtaken by events.

 “The application No.235 of 22 seeking a temporary injunction restraining the respondents from dealing with the suit property comprising LRV 2985 Folio 20 Plot 39 be and it's hereby dismissed because it has been overtaken by events and decisions at the Commercial Court vide Misc. Cause No.080 2022,” he said in ruling dated November 25.

The thrown-out application leaves Hajj Mbabaali’s fight to recover his properties that are being taken up by DTB after reportedly failing to clear a loan he acquired from the bank, hanging in the balance.

Last year, 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 Cooperation Limited and its proprietor Hajj Mbabaali which had obtained a loan from the bank had failed to clear the debt.  It is not yet clear how much money Hajj Mbabaali owes the bank.

 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. 

Although Hajj Mbabaali secured a caveat from the High Court of Uganda (commercial division) instructing bailiff acting on orders of DTB to halt sale of the properties, the bank proceeded to auction the properties. For instance Zamo Building was sold to Masaka businessman, Mr Robert Ssekigye, who has since asked DTB to provide vacant possession of the property.
Ms Nagadya, one of Mbabaali’s lawyers declined to comment on the latest ruling, saying that she was not in position to do so .

This publication has, however, established that Hajj Mbabaali is taking the matter to a higher court, appealing the decision made by the Masaka High Court.

On Monday, tenants occupying one of the buildings, Zamo Building in Masaka City who had last Friday been locked out by Mr  Ssekigye were allowed to access the building after being served with notices to vacate the building by December 31 .

Some affected tenants include Premier Credit, a financial institution that offers loans, advocates offices, and other businesses.

Mr Alexander Lule, the proprietor of Xander Advocates, one of the tenants on Zamo Building said that their tenancy agreements are still running up to l the end of the year, and locking them out was unfair.

“We are happy that the warring parties in this matter have considered us and reopened the building because we paid rent up to December 31 .So, we are going to use this time to look for another office space,” he added.  

Mr Ssekigye insists he wants to carry out renovation works on Zamo Building effective January 2023. He declined to reveal the amount of money he bought the building.