City businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has won the conflict of interest case against law firm Sebalu &Lule Advocates.
The his ruling delivered by the Commercial Court Registrar Festo Nsenga on Monday, Justice Paul Gadenya Wolimbwa said the conflicted law firm has relevant information concerning Sudhir owned-Crane Management Services having participated in the review of its tenancy agreements thus issuing a injunction barring the its lawyers from taking part in any case involving the company.
“The Applicant has made out a case that the first respondent has relevant information of the applicant. The information is relevant and I accordingly grant an injunction restraining the first respondent from handling any case involving the applicant”.
The judge ordered the respondents to “pay costs of this application”.
Last year Sudhir, through his lawyers led by Joseph Kyazze, filed a suit demanding a permanent injunction be put on Sebalu &Lule Advocates, banning the law firm from appearing before the court as a representative for Bank of Uganda and dfcu bank, and the other court cases that Crane Management Services and dfcu are engaged in.
In his suit, the property mogul said the law firm was unfit to represent both the Central and dfcu banks because they once represented Crane Management Services – which owned Crane Bank – in several court cases.
“The applicant (Crane Management Services) and Meera Investments are part of the Ruparelia group in which the shareholders are the same. Since the first respondent (Ssebalu and Lule Advocates) acted for one company (Meera Investment), they acted on behalf of all the companies in the group,” Kyazze said.
Kyazze said the first respondent was contracted to design the six templates of tenancy agreements, which agreements are the basement of another case dfcu is battling with Crane Management.
“The first respondent was tasked to draft the tenancy agreements into the simplest forms and was paid for the services rendered. He promised to always be available for consultancy and advice. By representing dfcu in a matter regarding the same tenancy agreements, there exists an advocate-client relationship in which confidential information was discussed between the two and the same information might be used to our disadvantage in the main case,” Kyazze added:
“My Lord Ssebalu and Lule Advocates breached regulations 4, 9 and 10 of the Advocates Rights when they accepted to represent dfcu an element which may lead them to give out confidential information which might be useful in the case between the two entities basing on that matter law firm is conflicted and can therefore not be the same to represent dfcu in the main suit.”