KAMPALA – Kampala businessman Hamis Kiggundu has revealed that his life is in danger, having exposed what he termed as illegalities in the banking sector and judicial incompetence.
Highlighting his case against Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and Kenya where he demands them over Shs120b, Ham said that exposing such illegalities is a very big deal that may even cost him his life.
“By the time I came out to make this video, I have realized that even my life is in danger,” he said.
“They say that we have low thinking capacity but I want to you (Ugandans), are we that slow like they consider us? I’m so scared that I might be in danger because of this big thing that I am chasing,” he emphasized.
According to Ham, when such illegalities are cleared, it will have affected the whole banking system.
“Interest rate will decrease, dollar rate will fall because no one will operate in illegalities anymore,” he said.
He gave an example of Uganda’s biggest percentage being unemployed youths, who he said with such poor banking policies, they cannot help themselves to start businesses.
“Just like we say that we want to go in Agriculture and do integrated Agro-processing plant such that we help youths. We all know that 80% of Ugandans are youths. So how are we going to help out these young people? We have to help them by adding value to agriculture, we do import substitution domestically and as well as export but these need a lot of capital. There’s no way we can do this when our financial policies and structures are still weak,” he said.
He added that “we open up Agro bank to ensure that Uganda develops. I’m tired of developing alone and that’s why I am fighting to see that we all get developed. That’s my point and that’s the case you hear in court.”
The city tycoon also challenged Ugandans to find out why he is being attacked by all bankers yet his case is only against DTB.
“It’s because I am holding something big for the whole country. This is the foundation where we need to start from to develop our country. We have to begin with the structures. The gateway is the financial structures, systems and policies. That’s what Ham is fighting for, he doesn’t look for wealth,” he said, adding that “It’s such a big deal that can even take someone’s life but even if I am killed the good thing is that you all know the problem now.”
Ham also appealed to all citizens, despite of their political affiliation to join hands and fight the ‘illegalities’ in the banking sector if they want to develop their country.
It should be known that in October this year, High Court ordered DTB Uganda and Kenya to pay Shs120b they had illegally debited from Ham Enterprises accounts and Shs9.6b as legal fees and damages they caused to the Enterprise.
This was after a court order was granted in favour of Ham, nullifying and halting DTB’s Audit as it was repugnant to Article 28 of the Ugandan Constitution which provides a right for every Ugandan to fair hearing.
In January 2020, Ham Enterprises dragged Diamond Trust Bank Uganda and Kenya to Court for fraudulently debiting over Shs120b from their Shillings and Dollar accounts. The Bank having failed to refund the unlawfully debited monies from the company’s accounts, Ham Enterprises instituted legal action against the Bank for recovery of the same. Diamond Trust Bank responded by alleging demand of Ugx. 39Billion and asking the court to Impose regulation 13 that was just smuggled into the mortgage act onto Ham Enterprises.
According to court documents, Kiggundu provided security/mortgage comprised in Plot no.923, Block 9 located at Makerere Hill Road to support the credit facilities he had got from DTB but the businessman says when he carried out an audit and reconciliation of the loan accounts, he found out that the DTB had taken shs34 billion and $23 million from his account.
Justice Henry Peter Adonyo ruled that DTB Kenya illegally carried out business in Uganda by lending to Hamis Kiggundu without obtaining a licence from Bank of Uganda as required by law.
“I would find that mortgage credit transaction was carried out illegally and that fact becomes a clear question of law and not fact,” Adonyo said.
In their defence, DTB said their Kenya counterparts (DTB Kenya) had appointed DTB Uganda which is licenced to carry out business in Uganda to act as their agent and thus they operated legally to collect funds for repayment of the said credit facility from Ham Enterprises.
However, the judge overruled the same explaining that such action of appointing DTB Uganda to act as an agent of DTB Kenya ought to have been done legally and the former gets licence from the Central Bank to do the job.
“These actions, in my view, are by their very nature the carrying out of financial institution business which are regulated under section 4 (1) of the Financial Institutions Act 2 of 2004 and for such actions requires valid licenses granted for that purpose by the Central Bank of Uganda,” he said.
However, this was later, the Principal Judge blocked the execution of commercial Court order after an appeal filed by DTB challenging the Commercial Court ruling.
“This decision has far-reaching implications on the banking industry as far as it declares syndicated loans illegal. This calls for maintenance of the status quo to enable the court of appeal to inquire into this illegality (syndicated loans) and either uphold the finding or reverse it,” Zeija said in his ruling.