The High court has stopped Crane Bank from evicting a Chinese business woman, from her business premises.
Justice Christopher Madrama Izama, of the High Court’s Commercial Division stopped Crane Bank from carrying out the eviction after Miao questioned the auction of her business premises which was based on the premise that she used the loan from Crane Bank to buy it. She says she bought the building using her retirement benefits.
Following the interim ruling, the judge will now investigate the controversial auction with the view to verify its validity or lack of it. During the time the judge will be conducting the investigation, tenants will be remitting rent directly to court pending the final determination of the dispute.
Crane Bank, owned by business tycoon, Sudhir Ruperalia, had sold the building located on Plot, Nabugabo Road, to Christine Nabukeera, owner of several apartments in the city, at Ushs 8.5bn.
Miao obtained the loans from Crane bank in 2013. She pledged the commercial building in question, and her residence located along Mackenzie Valley, in the affluent Kololo village of Kampala. After she failed to repay the loan on several occasions, the bank advertised on December 24, 2014, calling on members of the public to buy the shopping plaza in order to redeem its funds.
The property was eventually sold to Namaganda Limited, a company owned by Nabukeera, in February this year. The Commercial Court had given Crane Bank the green light to sell the property, if Miao had failed to remit Ushs 4bn by January 14th 2016. But Miao is arguing that Crane Bank had no right to sell the property using “illegal as well as underhand method”s.
Among other complaints, Miao accused the bank of selling the property by private treaty, without giving her notice of the same as the law requires. She produced her passport to court, indicating that she had been out of town when Crane Bank sold the property. Also, she accused the bank of selling her building at a song, which she puts at the open market value of Ushs 12bn.
Additionally, Miao produced to court Crane Bank documents suggesting that Nabukeera paid only Ushs 4bn although she (Nabukeera’s) claims to have bought the complex at Ushs 8.5bn. Miao complains that while Namaganda Limited, a business firm linked to Nabukeera, had initially held talks with her ( Miao) upon which it offered to buy the building at 11.8bn, she ( Nabukeera) would later connive with Crane Bank to indicate that she had paid Ush8.5Bn.
Miao further argues that Nabukeera, who claims to have paid for the property, ended up registering the facility in the names of Namaganda Limited; that the company acquired it without paying any penny. Her argument here is that Nabukeera and Namaganda Limited are different legal entities. Miao added that, much as Nabukeera claims that she has since obtained a title deed to the building, the reality on is that she is the one in possession of the complex and still collecting rent from the tenants.
But Nabukeera argues that what matters is not who paid, but that the money was paid to settle the loan which Miao had failed to settle. She adds that being the managing director of the company that paid the debt, she is entitled to possession of Miao’s property.
It is such complaints raised by Miao, which has prompted Justice Madrama to review the auction before deciding whether the sale was marred by illegalities or not.