The Commercial Court in Kampala has banned the lawyers of Sebalu & Lule Advocates from representing dfcu bank in the case filed against it by property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia due to conflict of interest.
In the ruling read by Court’s Deputy Registrar Festo Nsenga on Monday morning, Court noted that lawyers of Sebalu & Lule Advocates were in 2016 contracted by Sudhir to review several tenancy agreements for Crane Management service Ltd and leases for some companies under the Ruparelia Group and as such they came into contact with his confidential and privileged information.
Court also ordered the lawyers to pay costs to Sudhir.
“The Applicant (Sudhir’s Crane Management Services) has made out a case that the first respondent has relevant information of the applicant.
The information is relevant and I accordingly grant an injunction restraining the first respondent (Sebalu & Lule Advocates) from handling any case involving the applicant. Respondents should pay costs of this application,” the ruling read.
Sudhir through his real estate company, Crane Management Service Ltd sued dfcu bank demanding payment of rental arrears amounting to Shs2.9bn in respect of tenancies of properties formally owned by Crane Bank.
Crane Management services contend that when dfcu took over management of Crane Bank , it illegally took possession of the rental facilities from which the real estate company seeks to recover its arrears.
Sebalu & Lule Advocates have been representing dfcu Bank in case filed against it by Crane Management Services Ltd. The law firm has also been representing Bank of Uganda.
Crane Management Services owned by Sudhir last year sued dfcu bank over rental arrears amounting to Shs2.9b and $385,728.54 in respect of tenancies of suit properties that were formally owned by Crane Bank and have since been sold to dfcu bank by Bank of Uganda.
Sudhir termed the ruling as ‘historic’, noting that it is shocking that some senior law firms are setting a bad example simply because they are greedy.
He advised young lawyers to be honest and professional.