By Hillary Nsambu
The High Court has set aside an order evicting Shumuk Springs Development Limited and Springs International Hotel Limited from the former Blacklines House in the city centre, saying it was erroneously issued.
“The order issued by this court on February 6, 2014, which erroneously ordered for eviction of Shumuk Springs Development Limited and Springs International Hotel Limited, judgment debtors from Plot 2 Colville Street and to give vacant possession of the premises to Boney Mwebesa Katatumba and Hotel Diplomate, judgment creditors is hereby set aside and the eviction stop immediately,” the order reads.
The High Court Deputy Registrar, Execution & Bailiffs Division, Irene Akankwasa, issued a fresh order as she set aside her predecessor’s orders for eviction and giving vacant possession to Katatumba.
The turn of events followed an application by city lawyer Fred Makada, representing Shumuk Springs Developments and Springs International Hotel. He argued that since the lawsuit over ownership of the property was still before court and judgment still pending, it was a mistake by the former registrar of the Execution and Bailiffs Division to issue such orders.
Earlier, the court had heard that there were unconfirmed rumours that Shumuk Springs Developments was about to sell off the property. Then Katatumba and Hotel Diplomate applied to the Commercial Court registrar who issued orders of attachment which were for only preserving the property from sale.
However, the court further heard that when Katatumba applied for the implementation of the Commercial Court orders in the Execution and Bailiffs Division, the registrar, who has since transferred, erroneously issued the controversial orders of eviction and giving vacant possession of the property to Katatumba and Hotel Diplomate.
The court found that despite the fact that Katatumba was right to seek for attachment orders (to preserve the property from sale), the procedure of appearing only one party (exparte) before court, was wrong, because such applications are heard interparte (with both parties present).
Following the fresh court orders, the court bailiff Jackson Mwesigye t/a Push Recovery Trust Associates have been ordered to halt the eviction of Shumuk and its tenants from the property.
The lawyers of both sides were also working with the police to maintain the status quo until the court decided on the main law suit that is still pending in court. However, by Wednesday afternoon the Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, Andrew Felix Kawesi was yet to give fresh orders to his men who were guarding the building.
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Court stops Shumuk eviction from Blacklines House