By Max Patrick Ocaido
The Commercial Court has Monday blocked Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates from representing Dfcu Bank in the case filed against it by tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia over conflict of interest.
The Court's deputy registrar Festo Nsenga on behalf of Justice Paul Gadenya Walimbwa ruled that lawyers of Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates could have come in contact with confidential information at the time when they represented Crane Bank and therefore, are conflicted to represent Dfcu against their former client-Crane Bank.
“Applicant (Crane Bank) has made out a case that the first respondent (Sebalu, Lule) 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. Respondents should pay costs of this application,” the ruling reads.
Sudhir's lawyers led by Joseph Kyazze said the lawyers of Sebalu, Lule advocates were in 2016 hired by Sudhir to draw and review tenancy agreements of Crane Management services Ltd and in the process they came into contact with his confidential information.
Sudhir through his real estate company; Crane Management services sued Dfcu Bank demanding payment of rent arrears amounting to Shs2.9bn in respect of tenancies of property formally owned by Crane Bank. In his suit, Crane Management services contend that when Dfcu took over management of Crane Bank, it illegally took possession of the rental facilities from which the real estate company seeks to recover its arrears.
He avers further that during their clients advocate Interaction with the Sebalu, Lule advocates, he divulged privileged and confidential information which Dfcu can exploit to his disadvantage in the present despite before court.
Speaking outside the Court after the ruling, tycoon Sudhir said that this was a historic ruling in the law fraternity because several other firms over the past which have conflict of interest have got away with it and continued to represent their clients. He added that he is now ready for the hearing of the main application.
“Our evidence was very clear and I think it is unfortunate that the young and upcoming lawyers are following what the old senior lawyers were doing in the past. It is basically greed and there is now no ethics with these law firms anymore,” Sudhir said.