Ugandan businessman Patrick Bitature, founder and chairman of Simba Group, along with his spouse Carol Bitature, are set to face prosecution over a $26-million fraud case, according to officials.
Buganda Road Resident Chief State Attorney Joan Keko revealed in a letter signed on Jan, 23 that Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo has taken charge of the private criminal proceedings against the couple.
The Bitatures are summoned to appear in court on Feb. 6, facing seven counts related to conspiring to defraud Vantage Mezzanine Fund 11 partnership, a South African money lending company.
Bitatures accused of share fraud and deception, facing severe legal ramifications
The charges stem from actions taken in 2019 and 2020, where the couple is accused of fraudulently altering shares of their companies, Elgon Terrace Ltd and Simba Telecom, with the intent to defraud Vantage Mezzanine Fund 11 partnership.
Additionally, the Bitatures are alleged to have filed false annual returns at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, aiming to deceive Vantage and compromise the value of security interests on charged shares.
The indictment summons issued on Jan. 22 outlines charges that include giving false statements by directors, fraudulent alteration of shares by directors, and conspiracy to defraud. If found guilty, the 60-year-old Ugandan businessman and his 56-year-old wife could face severe legal consequences.
Bitature’s business stability threatened, as legal disputes escalate
The legal dispute extends beyond domestic boundaries, as the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration in London ruled in favor of Vantage Capital in 2023. The court directed Bitature, his wife, and their companies to pay $65.7 million due to a breach of contract, encompassing both the breach itself and compounded interest.
Despite Bitature’s persistent efforts to challenge judgments and claims of loan nullification, courts have consistently ruled against him, underscoring the failure to substantiate his arguments.
The mounting legal disputes not only pose a personal challenge for Bitature but also cast a shadow over the stability of his business ventures, particularly as his companies grapple with liquidity challenges and legal battles with entities like Absa Bank Uganda and Vantage Capital.