Home » Struggling Ugandan tycoon Patrick Bitature ordered to pay South African firm $65 million

Struggling Ugandan tycoon Patrick Bitature ordered to pay South African firm $65 million

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Patrick Bitature

The International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration in London has delivered a decisive ruling in favor of Johannesburg-based Vantage Capital, ordering Ugandan businessman Patrick Bitature, his wife, Carol Nzaro, and their companies to pay a total of $65.7 million.

The ruling follows a protracted legal battle stemming from a loan dispute between the parties.

According to court documents, Patrick Bitature has been directed to personally pay $25.4 million as a result of a breach of contract. This amount represents both the breach itself and the compound interest at a rate of 13 percent per annum, calculated quarterly from February 16 to the date of the award. 

Additionally, the court has mandated the transfer of 30,000 shares from Bitature and his wife, Carol Nzaro Bitature, to Vantage Capital. His companies were also ordered to pay Vantage Capital a sum of $35.44 million.

This payment includes a component of $115,591 for pre-arbitration legal fees, disbursements, and related costs. Moreover, a payment of $241,727, attributed to the stamp duty paid for the transfer of shares, is also included. Compound interest, mirroring the earlier calculation, applies to these amounts as well.

The London court ordered Simba Telecom, Linda Properties, and Elgon Hotel to pay Vantage Capital $4 million for breaching a contract related to the KCB Facility and securities without the consent of the South African company.

The arbitration ruling comes on the heels of a Kampala Court of Appeal decision more than a year ago that prevented the advertisement and auctioning of prime properties owned by Bitature.

The dispute traces its origins to a loan provided by Vantage Capital to Bitature in 2014. Initially a $10-million investment in Ugandan real estate, the debt grew exponentially due to accrued interest, charges, and penalties, now standing at over $60 million.

The loan, which was intended to finance the development of the Moyo Close Apartments and Skyz Hotel in Naguru, has led to sour relations between the once-promising partners. Bitature’s Simba Group, an East African conglomerate, engaged in a legal defense alongside the businessman himself, challenging the authority of Vantage Capital to lend in Uganda.

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