By Ivan Mwine
The days of businessman Patrick Bitature as a tycoon are very numbered because the tide seems to go against him each day that passes.
Bitature is currently embroiled is a financial battle with South African moneylenders Vantage Mezzanine Fund II Group, who want to auction his properties after he reportedly failed to service a loan of USD10M, which he borrowed from them a few years ago.
It should be noted that although Bitature, through his lawyers of Mwema & Co. Advocates, argues that Vantage Mezzanine Group is non-existent and thus has no legal claim to his property, court this week dismissed the same claim in a ruling by Justice Stephen Mubiru.
Justice Mubiru maintained that Bitature and his co-accused have a case to answer because they entered into a legally binding agreement with Vantage Mezzanine Group, who have legal representatives in Uganda.
In a bid to clarify more about the matter, Justice Mubiru also ordered Muwema & Co. Advocates to pay the costs of the suit for having neglected their professional competence as advocates, by misleading their client (Bitature) through ill-advising him.
Well, the latest we have on ground is that MTN Group has since pulled at least an 80 percent stake from Bitature’s Simba Telecom.
It should be noted that Bitature has over the years been MTN Uganda’s biggest distributor under Simba Telecom, having started with the franchise to distribute airtime cards and subscription cards before he progressed to gadgets and other services for the telecom giant.
However, following the saga with Vantage Mezzanine Group, which hails from South Africa, just like MTN Group, it is not surprising that the telecom giant has decided to take such a drastic move, although the company is yet to issue any official statement about the matter.
But pulling out of Simba Telecom is bound to make Bitature’s business empire suffer a huge blow, especially because it was the hinge upon which he build his vast wealth empire.
Meanwhile, Vantage Mezzanine Group insist that, unless he pays the loan, they will go ahead with the planned auctioning of his properties which include; Naguru Protea Skyz Hotel, Elizabeth Royal Apartments in Kololo and Moyo Close Apartments, in Kololo, which houses the Simba Telecom head offices.