The Commercial Court has ordered Simbamanyo Estates Limited and its proprietor Peter Kamya to pay Shs 1.3 billion in legal costs to Equity Bank Uganda Limited and two business firms; Meera Investments Limited and Luwaluwa Investments Limited.
In the ruling, the Commercial Court Registrar, Mr Elias Kisawuzi ordered Simbamanyo and Kamya to pay Shs 600 million to Equity Bank, Shs 400 million to Meera Investments and Shs 300 million to Luwaluwa Investments.
Kisawuza held that the bank and the business entities presented three bills for the cases, which the court dismissed with costs.
According to the ruling, the costs include; fees, charges, disbursements, remuneration and reimbursements allowed to a litigant in person.
“The general rule remains that unsuccessful party will be ordered to pay the costs to the successful party, but the court may make a different order. In other words, the court may decide that as successful party must not be awarded his or her costs,” the court said.
Kamya had utilised its prime properties as guarantees against its loans from Equity bank Ltd in November 2017. Failure to fulfil their loan obligations, Equity Bank went on to recover the outstanding debt worth $10.8 million which is about Shs40 billion.
In a bid to recover the outstanding debt, two properties were put for sale and these are Simbamanyo House on Lumumba Avenue and Afrique Suites, a four-star hotel at Mutungo Hill. This was after a notice was issued to Simbamanyo Estates demanding $398,362.33.
Simbamanyo Estates sued Equity Bank in an attempt to stop or delay the sale of the properties. Court denied the appeal and the properties were sold.
An appeal to the court to overturn the sale of Simbamanyo House to Meera Investments was made on 17th February, 2021 but the commercial court denied the appeal.
Simbamanyo was instead ordered by court to pay Equity Bank, Meera Investments Ltd, Luwaluwa Investments and the Commissioner of Land Registration legal costs.
It is upon this background that Equity Bank Lawyers filed a bill of fees to be approved by the court and sought after.