Businessman Hamis Kiggundu has vowed to start up a bank focusing on empowering local investors and small scale businesses in a bid to fight foreign banks based, which in his wisdom are draining citizens and the economy in general.
Mr Kiggundu popularly known as Ham owns a conglomerate of businesses including spanning real, transport and logistics and leisure.
On Wednesday, the Commercial Court ruled in his favour in a case he has been battling with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) in which he sought a refund of shs 120 billion the bank illegally deducted from his accounts after he acquired a loan.
In his ruling, Justice Henry Peter Adonyo said that the Bank violated the Financial Act of 2004 and therefore directed that the 120 billion should be paid with interest of 8% for carrying out illegalities on the Ham’s accounts.
The historic judgment sets precedence in Uganda at a time, banks are turning out to be a huge impediments to budding local entrepreneurs.
Most Ugandans have become victims of bank’s harsh conditions levied on whoever seeks to get a loan to develop his of her business.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has for long condemned the high interest rates issued by banks which cripple a couple of businesses in Uganda that results into default, but above all attachment of victims’ properties they stake as loan security throwing them into stinking poverty.
What remains shocking is that most banks in Uganda are foreign owned and at the end of the day all profits incurred are repatriated.
Against that backdrop, Mr Kiggundu upon trouncing DTB, vowed to open up a bank to cater of local Ugandans, which they will use to facilitate their small business and subsequently develop themselves.
Banks in Uganda have locked the interest rate on loans at 28% making it difficult for an ordinary Ugandan to acquire a loan to bolster his/her business.
Ham speaking to the media outside Court premises said he would use the DTB refund to open a financial institution that would cater for the demands of the common man.
Uganda currently has no local owned bank, after a group of unscrupulous officials in the Bank of Uganda shutdown Crane Bank which was owned by Dr Sudhir Ruparelia.
Ham said, there are many advantages of having a local bank raging from employment, to lower interest rates, no repatriation of profits which in the end benefits Uganda as a country.
In January, Mr Kiggundu and his companies Ham Enterprises and Kiggs International U Ltd sued Diamond Trust Bank U Ltd and Diamond Trust Bank (K), alleging breach of contract in a multibillion loan transaction.
He says between February 2011 and September 2016, his two companies sought loans from the banks and deposited properties as security but along the way as they repaid the loans, they realised the banks had not disbursed some of the agreed money yet they were unlawfully debiting his accounts without his knowledge or consent. Ham Enterprises is seeking recovery of Shs34b and $23m from the bank, which he claims was irregularly deducted from him.
However, the banks insist the businessman and his two companies took the money and acknowledged receipt on various dates.
The banks say Ham companies received $6,663,453, Shs1.5b, Shs1b, $4m and $500,000.
“The defendants (bank) in further response contend that terms of credit facilities were freely and voluntarily executed by the plaintiffs (Ham Enterprises), who certified that it received independent legal advice on the same and were not unreasonable, unfair or unjust as alleged,” the bank contended in their defence.