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    A-Plus In Tears After Losing Court Battle To Deregister Funeral Competitor Using ‘Similar’ Trade Name…



    A-Plus Group boss Ronald Zake

    Justice Musa Ssekaana, the head of the High Court Civil Division dismissed the case filed by A-Plus Funeral Management Limited against competitor A-Class Funeral Service Uganda Limited and the company registration body the Uganda Registration Service Bureau(URSB).

    In their suit, A-Plus claims that A-Class Funeral Services was illegally registered and was seeking for a permanent injunction against the use of the name “A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd ”.

    Court documents seen by theGrapevine indicate that A-Plus told court that it was incorporated in 2003 and has since been conducting the business under the name and fashion of A-Plus Funeral Management Ltd.

    The plaintiff added that for the last 17 years, it has been in the funeral business and has acquired goodwill in its business throguh its business names as A-Plus Funeral Services Management Ltd because its services and business are well known to the public generally by the said name.

    Court documents further indicate that in September 2020, the plaintiff came to know that another company, A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd was incorporated by URSB under a business name that is confusingly similar to its name of A-Plus Funeral Management Ltd.

    The plaintiff raised objections to the registration of A-Class but they got no positive response.

    The plaintiff contended that the A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd is a wrongful attempt to pass off their business name and thus mislead the public into the belief that they are the same which was not true.

    In their defense, A-Class told court that they followed steps on the URSB website on how to register a local company under a reserved name, lodged the required documentation, paid the required fees and were duly issued a certificate of incorporation in the names of A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd.

    A-Class contends that they conduct business under the name of fashion A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd and have never carried on any trade or business under a “business name” that is allegedly confusingly similar to the name of the plaintiff.

    They insist that the names A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd and A-Plus Funeral Management Ltd when considered holistically are conceptually dissimilar and are not sufficient enough to give rise to a likelihood of confusion or even passing off.

    They added that to get up and public appeal designs of A-Class Funeral Services (U) Ltd are very distinctive within the funeral service industry in Uganda.

    In their defense, URSB contended that they registered A-Class in compliance with the law governing registration of companies.

    They added that the name A-Class was found to be desirable and hence passed the test for registration of company names.

    URSB denied that A-Plus name is confusingly similar to A-Class since the test of ‘confusingly similar’ is applicable if A-Plus had registered a trademark, to which they did not.

    URSB stated that as a statutory regulatory body mandated to register and regulate companies, they adhered to the relevant legal test and the claim of negligence on their part is therefore unfounded.

    In his ruling, Justice Ssekaana established that A-Class is not confusingly similar to the name of A-Plus and the same does not constitute passing off of the plaintiff’s name.

    Justice Ssekaana rubbished the testimony given to court by Drake Edward Wasswa who testified on behalf of A-Plus that while he was attending a  funeral at Butambala on 13th September 2020 he saw A-Class company and in his mind he was confused it with A-Plus.

    The judge noted that courts would not consider a confused or unobservant mourner like Wasswa but rather a reasonable and intelligent mourner who is conversant with the details of companies engaged in the business of funeral services in Uganda.

    He added that A-Plus claim that A-Class name is a pass off of their business name cannot be sustained in the circumstances of the said case.

    He explained that passing off is a form of a tort based on common law.  He stated that the basis of the cause action lies squarely in misrepresentation, for its underlying rationale is to prevent commercial dishonesty.

    Justice Ssekaana added that tort of passing off protects the business of the plaintiff with its many factors and its assets, goodwill and reputation which cannot stop persons gaining a commercial advantage through wrongfully taking the  attributes of another’s business if it causes or is likely to cause that other person’s business some damage.

    He explained that the two trade names of A-Plus and C-Plus are distinct and A-Plus submissions that have similar phonetic sound have been found baseless.

    He stated that It is very true that the reputation and goodwill of the business which is often attached to the trade name will be protected by courts but equity would intervene to provide relief to a plaintiff whose customers had been misled by his competitors.

    He stated that even although the Companies Act has provision to ensure that a new company is not registered under a name closely resembling an existing registered company, but is not very effective hence a passing off action may be launched to prevent the registration of a newly proposed company or to change the name of an existing company whose name is confusingly similar to another company with established business and reputation.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki



    Property Dealer Kamoga Survives Prison Over Fraudulent Multi Billion Land Deals…



    Muhammad Kamoga the proprietor of Kamoga Property Consultants

    Muhammad Kamoga the proprietor of Kamoga Property Consultants situated along Entebbe Road has been charged before Entebbe Chief Magistrate Court and released on bail on the allegation of masterminding fraudulent multibillion land deals.

    According to the State, Kamoga was accused of fraudulently acquiring a prime piece of land measuring 200 acres in two villages in Katabi Town Council near Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso District.

    Before his arrest, State through the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, George William Byansi had directed Maj. Dr. Tom Magambo the Director of Police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID)  to arrest Kamoga and present him before the Chief Magistrates Court at Entebbe.

    According to the charge sheet, Kamoga is facing charges of forgery, uttering a false document and obtaining registration by false pretense.

    It is alleged that on May 7, 2021 at Wakiso Lands office, Mr. Kamoga with intent to deceive forged a transfer form dated May 7 in respect to land on block 435 plot 8 purporting to have bought it from Bibangamba Peter which was false.

    State contends that Kamoga also forged a transfer form dated February 8, 2021 in respect to land on Block 435 in regard to 105 plots.

    The land broker is also accused of uttering a false document where it is alleged that he submitted the said forged documents to the Registrar of titles purporting it to be signed by Bibangamba whereas not.

    According to the state, Kamoga willfully procured for himself registration of disputed land under the registration of titles Act by falsely pretending that the same was transferred to him by Bibangamba.

    The charges result from complaints regarding four plots on land on Block 435 at Bukaaya Village in Katabi Town Council, Entebbe.

    Bibangamba is accusing Kamoga of subdividing his land into more than 100 plots and transferring them into his names and later on selling them off without his consent.

    “Charges of GEF 308/22 and CRB 556/2022 should be prepared as guided above and forwarded to Resident State Attorney (RSA) Entebbe for further action,” reads the document received at the CID on September 4.

    According to the complaint, in 2021, Bibangamba engaged Kamoga to recover his land from occupants who had become a big problem to him.

    It is alleged Bibangmba and Kamoga signed a Memorandum of Understanding accompanied by powers of attorney to enable the latter to execute the assignment.

    It is alleged that Kamoga held meetings with squatters, opened boundaries of the land and negotiated with some of them and even took one of them, J.P Cuttings to Bibangamba and sale was concluded.

    “However, thereafter Kamoga proceeded and subdivided the entire land into several small plots and transferred most of them into his own names and then sold them  without the knowledge or consent of the complainant or the affected occupants”  Bibangamba states.

    Efforts to get Kamoga were futile as his known telephone number was switched off.


    By Grapevine Reporters


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    NCBA Bank In Spotlight Over Fraudulent Advert With Intent To ‘Deal’ Top Lawyer’s Multi-Million-Shilling Property…



    NCBA MD Mark Anthony (R) and a copy of Tibeingana's letter to the bank

    A city lawyer and property mogul has accused NCBA Uganda of trying to defraud him of value by selling his prime property in Kampala by employing underhand methods

    Deox Tibeingana, also a property developer, accuses NCBA Bank Uganda of trying to sell off his property by maliciously advertising the same.  He says that in doing so, they are trying to actualize a fraud.

    On Monday, September 25, 2023, the bank advertised the lawyer’s property in Mbuya for sale in the Daily Monitor, with a call to the occupants to vacate. He attached a letter from the bank granting him 30 days extension from 16th September 2023 but even before the lapse of the days given, the bank was advertising. This obviously means his efforts are now useless.

    For Tibeingana, it raised a red flag.

    “They put up a notice for ‘occupants’ to vacate property knowing that I voluntarily vacated the property under the false presumption that they (the bank) would respect common sense and sell the property by private treaty,” he says.

    Tibeingana reveals that by going ahead to advertise, NCBA bank was cementing its reputation as a financial institution that thrives on other people’s misfortune.

    Tibeingana, who had a financial obligation with the bank, said he approached the bank, when it was still being headed by Mr. Anthony Ndegwa, with proposals on how he could pay part of the loan to a tune of UGX 1 billion.  However, they were unrelenting and he flew to Nairobi at the bank’s head office where he got positive feedback.

    “In Nairobi, they accepted my proposal to sell off the Estates in Kireka to pay off the principal. However, what followed was the most unprofessional and childish display of personal vendetta from the bank. They said that since I had gone to Nairobi, they would frustrate me and refused to accept an immediate part payment of UGX 670m insisting I must pay UGX 1 billion in one lumpsum,” he says.

    Part of lawyer Tibeingana’s letter to NCBA

    According to Tibeingana, it went on for one year with interest accumulating at 36%. Eventually, after frustrating me, the Managing Director called to say he was going to sell off the property in piece meal and had buyers. They became the brokers for my properties and were negotiating with clients to pay them inducements on the side and sold all the property that way.

    Tibeingana also accuses the then MD of meeting up with his (Tibeingana’s) business rival, a notable loan shark, at a Golf Course Hotel, and devising means to frustrate him.

    “I engaged lawyers (Kyazze & Kyankaka advocates), after I got wind of the MD’s meeting with the loan shark. They put it to him that since I had constructed the apartments and had shown steps to create value and pay the bank, their scheme was bound to fail,” he says.

    He recalls that in 2020, he requested the bank to release to its lawyers the land title for plot 8A Mbuya Road so he could create condominium titles to sell the houses he had constructed and pay the bank.  They refused his request for 6 months while his account ran on penal interest.

    According to Tibeingana, the bank eventually relented but he had to first raise 10% of the agreed sum before he could get the title. After depositing UGX 250M, the title was released and the condos created.  “I was able to pay the bank UGX2.5Billion in 30 days after selling 5 of the 43 condos that were created.  Upon payment of these monies, It was another battle to get my titles released as management was “too busy” to sign all the 38 mortgage releases,” he narrates.

    Tibeingana recalls that on two separate occasions, officials from the bank approached him proposing a gentleman’s agreement to sign sham mortgage documents of UGX 3.88bn and UGX 3.97bn in a period of 3 days to fool BOU auditors. He further narrates that “…I was shocked to later learn that these too had been registered against my properties as legal charges. It was against that fact that I filed a suit to challenge the thuggery of the bank,” he says.

    He reveals that out of the UGX3.5b lent to him by the bank, he has so far paid back more than UGX7.5b, but the bank now claims they are still demanding UGX 1.6bn.

    “We reached an agreement and I vacated the building so that the bank could tour prospective buyers after they declined my offer to participate in disposal of the property. Hardly a week has passed and the bank is keeping with its culture of advertising a property under a mortgage Act, whereas the agreement was a gentleman’s deed to sell under the insolvency act by all players,” he says.


    By Grapevine Reporter


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    How Bad Economy, Politics Forced Monitor Publications MD Glencross To Seek Early Retirement, New Vision’s Don Wanyama Warns Shareholders…



    NMG Managing Director Tony Glencross

    Professor Samuel Sejjaaka, the chairman Board of Directors Nation Media Group (NGM), the publishers of Daily monitor newspaper revealed that the search for the company’s Managing Director has kicked off after Tony Glencross tendered in his early retirement prayer and it was allowed.

    In the Statement, Sejjaaka stated that effective from 31st December, 2023, Glencross will be officially retiring and as per now, the board is undertaking a competitive recruitment process to identify a suitable replacement.

    South African born Glencross joined Monitor Publication in 2015 and has spearheaded its transformation from print media company to a multimedia company.

    Highly placed sources at Nation Media told theGrapevine that politics and the bad economy forced Glenscross, a former Commercial Officer at Vission Group, to retire. A source said that the company has failed to recover from the economic shock that many companies are currently suffering from as a result of the Covid-19 long lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine war.

    The monitor paper circulation has since declined because the pockets of most readers are yawning due to the bad economy.

    There is also the issue of bad politics. Insiders allege that Glencross has been working under pressure especially from top government officials who are always attacking the company for working against the government.

    On several occasions, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared Monitor a ‘bad paper’ to the extent of suing the publication over defamation.

    In Monitor’s legal battle with Museveni, Justice Musa Ssekaana of the Civil Division of the High Court ordered them to pay Shs300m as damages to the President.

    Museveni always alleges that Monitor publication is working for bad foreign agents.

    A source at Monitor further revealed that the newspaper’s private advertisement has dropped yet government is also taking long to pay for their adverts.

    Glencross’ early retirement comes days after New Vision Managing Director Don Wanyama warned the company’s current and prospective shareholders of an impending loss for the year 2022/2023.

    Wanyama based his announcement on the “preliminary assessment” of the company’s performance by the Board of Directors, which is expected to return a loss for the year.

    He explained that the company’s bad performance is as a result of the recent price hikes of inputs like; newsprint and other raw material inputs resulting from global supply chain disruptions.

    He added that the company’s revenues are dominated by printing which accounts for almost half, followed by broadcasting (radio and television) outlets, commercial printing and others.

    “The main contributor to this performance is the challenging business environment due to slow business recovery from the COVID-19 impact on newspaper sales and advertising revenue spent across the different platforms,”  Wanyama stated.

    Highly placed sources at both Monitor and New Vision intimated to theGrapevine that plans are underway to cut on the number of staff and costs of operations.


    By Sengooba Alirabaki


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