By Ivan Mwine
City mogul Patrick Bitature, who is also the Board Chairman Umeme, has finally come out to speak of allegations circulating in the media that he is heavily indebted and that some of his properties are set to be auctioned.
Bitature’s properties which include Protea Skyz Hotel Naguru, Elizabeth Royal Apartments in Kololo and Moyo Close Apartments were on Wednesday May 18, 2022 advertised by Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs in the Daily Monitor for auctioning, unless he clears the money he owes within 30 days.
However, following the advert, Bitature, who maintains that this is a plot being hatched by some mafias to grab his property, has through his lawyers of Mwema & Company Advocates, issued a statement, which we reproduce verbatim for clarity of the matter;
“MR PATRICK BITATURE RESPONDS
We act for M/s Simba Properties Investment Co. Ltd, the registered proprietor of Protea Hotel – Naguru SKyz, Elizabeth Royal Apartments and Moyo Close Apartments.
- Our Client’s attention is drawn to a public auction advert issued by Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs appearing at Page 9 of the Monitor newspaper of today purporting to offer our client’s abovementioned properties for sale upon the instructions of M/s Kirunda & Wasige Advocates.
- We wish to inform the general public that the said Advert has been issued without any legal basis. It is a malicious advert whose sole purpose is to alarm and cause irreparable damage to our client’s business and reputation.
- In that regard, we state the correct position of the matter as follows:
- i) Our client’s properties are not liable to be advertised for sale by any mortgagee purported to be represented by Kirunda & Wasige Advocates and Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs.
- ii) M/s Kirunda & Wasige Advocates used to act for Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership, in a long-standing Commercial dispute with our client which was decided against them recently.
iii) The above dispute was settled on the 9th May 2022 by Hon. Justice Musa Ssekana of the High Court when he declared in Misc. Cause No. 205 of 2021 Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership vs Simba Properties Investment Co. Ltd, that Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership is a non-existent legal entity which had no locus standi to file the suit.
- iv) A copy of the self-explanatory Court Order which must be respected by all persons is attached for ease of reference.
- v) So, from the 9th May 2022, M/s Kirunda & Wasige Advocates ceased to have a client to act for and for that matter, they cannot claim to be instructed to take legal action of any form by or for the non-existent Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership.
- vi) The action taken by Kirunda & Wasige Advocates and Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs tends to disabuse the binding judicial authority which nullifies any masquerade of legal existence by Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership when they unlawfully purport to resurrect it with legal personality rights, whereas not.
vii) The above misguided and unprofessional conduct by the said lawyers and auctioneers undermines the authority of the courts of law to adjudicate disputes between the parties and is also in blatant disregard and contempt of court orders.
viii) Our client has therefore instructed us to exorcise the ghost of the non-existent Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Partnership by taking the appropriate compensatory legal action against its promoters, lawyers, Auctioneers and Monitor newspaper for the offensive publication.
- ix) Our client’s well-wishers, business associates and the general public are informed and advised accordingly to ignore the impugned public notice.
Anyone who acts upon the falsehoods and misrepresentation in the impugned public notice does so at their grave risk and peril.”
What Is Vantage Mezzanine
According to their website, Vantage Mezzanine is the largest and most experienced independent mezzanine funder on the African continent, with roots in South Africa.
Since 2006, Vantage has made 33 investments across four successive funds into 11 African countries, Uganda inclusive.
Mezzanine Debt is an alternative source of risk capital that fills a funding shortfall where banks lack an appetite to lend, and where shareholders either lack cash equity to contribute and don’t wish to dilute their shareholdings.
The Mezzanine Debt enables a business to make an acquisition or invest in expansion, or part-fund shareholders in acquiring additional equity in their company, through a flexible funding instrument that is cheaper than equity,
where shareholders don’t suffer heavy dilution of their existing equity stakes
and which can comfortably rank behind existing senior debt provided by banks.
Bitature’s lawyers of Mwema & Co. Advocates did not however divulge details about his dealings with Vantage Mezzanine or how much, if at all he is, indebted to them.
Watch the space for updates!