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Principal Judge Zaija steps in as UGX. 120 payment to Ham in DTB dispute is halted

KAMPALA — Principal Judge Flavian Zeija has blocked the payment process of UGX34b and $23.2m (UGX86b) which the Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) allegedly deducted from Ham Enterprises’ accounts.

The interim injunction blocking the ruling of the Commercial Court will be in place until the main application for the stay of the execution orders is determined.

“It is hereby ordered that an interim order for stay of execution of the decree in the High Court Civil Suit number 43/2020 doth issue pending the determination of the main application for stay of execution,” the interim order issued by PJ reads in part.

Ham Enterprises cannot commence the recovery process of the aforementioned money from the bank as earlier ordered by the head of the Commercial Court, Justice Henry Peter Adonyo.

Justice Adonyo last week ruled that a syndicated loan granted to a local company was illegal in a shock judgment that banks warned could lead to a spike in defaults on $1.5 billion of debt.

The case relates to a loan Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd provided to a Kampala-based firm with interests spanning real estate to agriculture, using its Ugandan subsidiary as the agent.

Lenders were taken by surprise when Judge Adonyo said the transaction was illegal because the Kenyan bank didn’t have a domestic license to conduct such business in Uganda.

The judgment enables the applicants, Ham Enterprises Ltd., Kiggs International Ltd., and Hamis Kiggundu, to recover more than $32 million from the bank, according to a copy of the judgment.

Diamond Trust Bank disagreed with the ruling and has since appealed it.