Justice Paul Wolimbwa Gadenya of the Commercial Court has set April 3, 2019 on which to hear an application in which Kampala business mogul Sudhir Ruparelia seeks to stop Sebalu & Lule Advocates from representing dfcu Bank, citing conflict of interest on the side of the lawyers.
Justice Gadenya became the third judge to handle the application after Justices David Kutosi Wangutusi, the head of the Commercial Court and his deputy Elizabeth Jane Alividza had declined to hear the same.
On Tuesday, the judge directed the lawyers of all parties to speedily finalise exchanging the necessary documents, including affidavits they would wish to use when the hearing of the application commences.
Crane Management Services Limited, a business conglomerate that oversees several other companies also owned by Sudhir Ruparelia, sued dfcu bank and Bank of Uganda, seeking rental arrears amounting to sh2.9b and $385,728.54 in respect of the property owned by Crane Bank Limited before it was put under dfcu receivership by the Bank of Uganda.
In an affidavit sworn by Rajiv Ruparelia, a director in the company, supporting the application, it was contended that their business relationship (with Sebalu & Lule Advocates ) dated back from 2012 and it had never been terminated hitherto. So, it would be a breach of the Advocates Act under the laws of Uganda and the Advocates (professional conduct) Regulations by accepting instructions to represent Dfcu against it.
Represented by Joseph Kyazze and Jackline Natukunda, the applicant also sought for a permanent injunction restraining the law firm from representing the receivership bank in the main suit that was filed in court in 2018.
However, according to an affidavit in reply that was sworn by James Mukasa-Ssebugenyi, a lawyer and partner in the respondent law firm, the court was asked to dismiss the application denying the applicant company's claims.
Stephen Mubiru Kalenge represented dfcu Bank while Peter Walubiri represented Sebalu & Lule Advocates.