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Court Withdraws Summonses Against Businessman Bitature

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Court Withdraws Summonses Against Businessman Bitature


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The Chief Magistrates Court at Buganda Road has withdrawn criminal summonses against businessman Patrick Bitature and his wife Carol Nzaro concerning a $26 million commercial dispute with a South African money lender, Vantage Mezzanine Fund 11 Partnership. The withdrawal is pending investigations into the matter.

Initially, the couple was summoned to court to respond to criminal charges. However, Ms. Joan Keko, the Chief State Attorney, requested the court to vacate the criminal charges until investigations were completed. She highlighted that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had taken over the case, prompting a need for further investigation. The court concurred with this request and vacated the summonses.

The Court of Appeal had previously ordered Mr. Bitature to face trial following the dismissal of his application seeking to stay the execution of a ruling and orders from the High Court. Justice Hellen Obura, presiding as a single judge, ruled the application as incompetent and already overtaken by events.

The background of the case revolves around allegations of fraud against the Bitatures under Section 309 of the Penal Code Act. It is claimed that Simba Properties Investment Company, owned by the Bitatures, borrowed $10 million from Vantage Mezzanine Fund in December 2014. Subsequently, the shareholding of Simba Companies, where the Bitatures held shares, was allegedly altered with the intent to defraud the South African company and other creditors.

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The actions of the Bitatures, as alleged by the South African company set to be the private prosecutor, are said to contravene various sections of the Penal Code, including Section 323 regarding fraud and Section 309 regarding false annual returns.

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Bitature’s legal representatives welcomed the court’s decision, labeling the charges as “frivolous.”

The withdrawal of summonses signals a pause in the legal actions against Bitature and his wife until further investigations are conducted.

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