By David Serumaga
A few days ago, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ham Group of Companies, Al-Hajji Hamis Kiggundu alias Ham and Nasim Devji, the CEO of Diamond Trust Bank Group (Kenya) left their private meeting smiling and hugging each other after settling a long court battle.
The two financial titans have been in a bank working relationship for more than ten years and their disagreements had paralyzed their future financial growth and development.
Upon failing to resolve their disputes in the civil courts, the two financial giants made a wise decision to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which aimed at settling the misunderstandings between the conflicting parties, hence promoting natural justice and reconciliation.
The method used in Ham and DTB showed that litigation is not the only ultimate way of delivering justice in Uganda, but Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can also act as a magic bullet in the promotion of fairness and natural justice. Negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration are some of the examples that conflicting parties can use to resolve disputes, which Ham and DTB applied in their matter.
According to the Arbitration and Reconciliation Act, arbitration is the process where parties to the dispute refer their dispute to a third party for resolution and agree to be bound by the decisions of the arbitrator.
Ugandans should use the example of billionaire Hamis Kiggundu and DTB and appreciate this method of seeking for natural justice because it is faster, confidential, flexible, and avoids technicalities. The unique advantage of arbitration is that the court recognizes the decisions made by the arbitrator, and the proceedings are quasi-judicial in nature.
We congratulate the Ugandan young billionaire, Ham Kiggundu and DTB in facilitating this process and for allowing to settle this long financial dispute outside court because it is less confrontational and preserves good business and personal relationship.
It was long overdue for Ham and DTB to use this method because they wouldn’t have spent all these 8years in courts, yet it was solved in just days. After their closed-door meeting, the two financial’ giants, Ham and Nasim reasoned as the world masterpiece and resolved to put their past financial and legal misunderstandings.
The government should sensitize the public on the importance of the ADR method because it reduces case backlog in courts of law and brings satisfaction between the aggrieved parties.
THE WRITER IS A RESEARCHER AND STUDENT OF LAW