High Court continues Equity Bank loan dispute hearings amid witness cross-examination

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Dar es Salaam. The loan repayment dispute involving Equity Bank Tanzania (EBT) and Equity Bank Kenya (EBK) will continue for four consecutive days from September 2 to 5, 2024, at the High Court, Business Division.

During this period, the second witness for the claimant side will undergo cross-examination by the defense lawyers.

The case was filed by Continental Reliable and Clearing (CRC) (the borrower) against these banks (the lenders), contesting repayment demands totaling over Sh10.13 million issued to them by the banks.

Currently, the case is at the hearing stage, with the court receiving evidence from the claimant side (CRC) and preparing to accept testimony from the second witness.

Presided over by Judge Prof Agatho Ubena, the case was originally scheduled to proceed in court today, Tuesday, July 9, and tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

However, today's session was postponed due to the absence of Judge Ubena, who was scheduled to preside. Deputy Registrar of the Court, Joyce Minde, adjourned the case to the mentioned dates.

When the case was called for adjournment by the Registrar, the claimant's lawyer, Frank Mwalongo, requested continuation tomorrow.

However, Deputy Registrar Minde informed that Judge Ubena would also be absent tomorrow, prompting Lawyer Mwalongo to request the September dates.

CRC filed this case after EBK, through its agent EBT, sent a letter demanding repayment within 21 days of a loan received at different times from 2013, totaling $10,139,664.95 (equivalent to over Sh27 billion).

This case is one of several filed by various companies contesting claims from these banks, and counterclaims filed by the banks against several companies alleging failure or neglect to repay borrowed billions. However, the court dismissed the company's request for crucial documents from their defense, citing failure to meet legal requirements.

The company, through its second witness, Alexander Gombanila, led by their lawyer, Mwalongo, requested the court to accept a document claiming to be a payment schedule for all loans received from these banks.

However, the banks' lawyers, Emmanuel Saghan representing EBT (first defendant) and Mpaya Kamala representing EBK (second defendant), objected to the document, claiming it did not meet legal requirements.

The court agreed with the defense lawyers' objections and dismissed the document.

Following this, the defense lawyers began questioning the witness on the responses given to the court through written submissions and various documents intended to be used as evidence.

Saghan initiated the questioning, during which, among other points, the witness stated he was not present when the loan was issued because he had not yet been employed by the company. Instead, he asserted that the information he provided regarding the loan was based on what he heard from his colleagues and what he found in the office. H

owever, the witness did not complete his responses before the case was adjourned until today and tomorrow.