The Worldwide Chamber of Commerce Court docket of Arbitration sitting in London has dominated within the long-running struggle between Ugandan businessman Patrick Bitature, taking it to final restrict with an order that Bitature pays the excellent mortgage of US $ 35 million with prices or threat loosing his actual property empire in Kampala.
Vantage Capital, primarily based in South Africa and one of many continent’s largest mezzanine mortgage suppliers, took the matter earlier than the London court docket after it’s efforts to public sale Bitature’s property in Kampala hit a lifeless finish.
The properties are owned by Bitature’s Simba Telecom Restricted however had been mortgaged beneath his actual property holding firm, Simba Properties Funding Firm Restricted.
The dispute goes again to 2014 when Vantage Capital lent Bitature $10 million to spend money on the 14-unit Moyo Shut Residences and the Skyz Lodge in Naguru which had been each nonetheless beneath building. It was the primary funding the South African lender was making in Uganda.
“Vantage brings an necessary and thrilling new mannequin of financing to the East African area. Simba Group is happy to have discovered a powerful mezzanine financing companion who offers medium-term progress capital however doesn’t need to take our hard-earned fairness,” Patrick Bitature, the founder and chairman of Simba Group stated on the time.
Warren van der Merwe, the chief working officer of the Mezzanine capital supplier, gushed: “Simba has managed to construct a formidable and profitable group of companies, by way of a mix of entrepreneurial aptitude and extremely skilled administration. “Theirs is the form of story that underpins our Pan African funding technique of supporting mid-market family-owned companies which can be looking for to boost progress capital with out having to dilute their shareholding. That is the form of Group we want to again in future transactions.”
However the honeymoon didn’t final lengthy. Sources acquainted with the transaction, however who spoke on situation of anonymity with a purpose to communicate freely, stated that just about a decade later, Bitature and his Simba Group of firms haven’t paid again a single greenback to the South African lender.
“After receiving the cash, as a substitute of paying again the mortgage they employed attorneys to say that the South Africans weren’t authorised to lend in Uganda and couldn’t due to this fact declare to get well the mortgage,” a supply acquainted with the matter stated. “So, the matter has been pending in court docket through the years, bouncing from one courtroom to a different.”
within the newest Arbitration ruling dated thirty first July 2013 made in London and signed Prof. Fidelis Oditah KC, SAN as sole Arbitrator, Bitature and his companions are ordered to pay US$ 35, 800,943 mortgage stability as of sixteenth February 2023 on addition to authorized charges of 115,591 and different associated prices of US$ 241,727 together with stamp obligation paid in respect to switch of shares with compound curiosity of 13 p.c per anum.
On 16 June 2021 Justice Boniface Wamala of the Business Division of the Excessive Court docket of Uganda dominated that the arbitration settlement between Simba and Vantage was legitimate and despatched the 2 events to arbitration.
Two days later, Vantage sought to switch shares in Simba Properties Funding Firm Restricted, Simba Properties Restricted, Linda Properties Restricted, and Elgon Terrace Lodge Restricted, all owned by Bitature, into its title as supplied for by their financing settlement.
Nonetheless, officers on the Uganda Registration Providers Bureau refused to switch the properties on the idea that there was nonetheless a authorized dispute between the 2 events which was nonetheless beneath arbitration. When Vantage utilized for judicial assessment to problem this place, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Excessive Court docket dismissed the applying on the idea that the Vantage partnership was not registered as an organization in Uganda and will, due to this fact, not sue or be sued. He, nonetheless, famous that URSB ought to have gone forward with the share switch.
Bitature is likely one of the main indigenous businessmen and sits on a number of boards, together with of Umeme, the facility distributor, and Bollore Transport and Logistics Uganda. Trade watchers say the dispute might undermine worldwide confidence in Uganda’s company governance sector and make it more durable for personal sector gamers to get versatile financing from non-public fairness and enterprise capital funds.
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