Who We Are at MMAKS
Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe - Our team at MMAKS Advocates

Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe

Managing Partner
Head of Litigation
Phone 1: +256 393 260 017
Phone 2: +256 393 260 330
Email: masembe@ug.aln.africa

BACKGROUND

Masembe is a Managing Partner at ALN Uganda | MMAKS Advocates, one of the leading law firms in Uganda. He is the head of the firm’s Litigation team. His practice focuses mainly on commercial litigation and arbitration, as well as corporate and commercial law. He is a Barrister-at-law and a Member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, UK.

Masembe holds an LL. B (Hons.) degree and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1992. In addition, he obtained a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre in Uganda. He is one of the leading litigators in Uganda and has appeared in numerous ground-breaking cases involving banking and finance law, commercial arbitration, and public law. He was recently granted a special license to appear in the Tanzania Courts.

Masembe is an external lead counsel for the Bank of Uganda and has thus been at the centre of the reconstruction and improvement of Uganda’s entire banking sector. In addition, he has served as a member of the Capital Markets Authority Board.

Chambers Global 2022 described Timothy as being “widely recognised as one of the country's foremost litigators. He routinely features on some of the jurisdiction's largest corporate and commercial cases, with further proficiency in public law disputes. Practising out of Kampala, he is also noted for his counsel in arbitration proceedings”.

MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES

  • Advocate, High Court of Uganda
  • Member, Uganda Law Society
  • Member, East Africa Law Society
  • Barrister-at-law, England & Wales
  • Member, Honourable Society of Inner Temple, England

Professional qualifications

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Law Development Centre, Uganda
  • LL. B (Hons), University of London, England

career summary

2005 - date

Partner, MMAKS Advocates, Uganda

1993 - 2005

Partner, Mugerwa & Masembe Advocates, Uganda

Awards and accolades

  • Masembe is consistently ranked as a leading lawyer in his field by Chambers Global. Chambers Global, 2023 recognises Masembe’s excellent reputation for his litigation experience.

areas of expertise

  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution

TOP MATTERS

  • Successfully acted for the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited in resisting a challenge to the enforcement in Uganda of its USD153 million foreign arbitral award against AYA Investments (U) Ltd, the proprietor of the Pearl of Africa Hotel. The resisted challenge involved questions of arbitrability of the dispute, alleged inability to participate in the arbitral proceedings, allegations of bias, and other issues all of which were resolved in favour of the client.
  • Successfully acted for Rwenzori Hydro (PVT) Ltd and Greenewus Energy Africa Limited in litigation-based enforcement of payment on five US$6.4m Advance Payment and Performance Bonds issued in the context of two hydro power projects (the Nyamagasani I Hydro Power Project and the Kakaka Hydro Power Project), the litigation being imperative for commercial confidence in the use of bonds in the construction and other industries.
  • Successfully acted for the Uganda Bankers Association and thirty commercial banks in a Constitutional Petition by which the Constitutional Court declared void and unconstitutional attempts by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to compel all commercial banks to divulge to it en masse the private information of all their customers and those customers’ personal and financial data contrary to the constitutional right to privacy.
  • Acting in an arbitration dispute against a multi-national beverage company for one of its shareholders in a claim to recover close to UGX17B (US$ 4.8 million) being an estimate of the lost value of the shareholding because of a failure to recognise the shareholder’s pre-emption rights on various share transfers and discrimination in various share allotments contrary to the provisions of the allotting resolutions.
  • Acting for the Bank of Uganda in a suit involving a fraudulent acquisition and conveyance of securities encumbered by the plaintiffs to secure a debt facility of US$ 20 million.
  • Acting for Barclays Bank and ABSA to defend a suit seeking nullification of a structured agricultural finance facility worth US$ 29.4 million advanced by the defendants.
  • Acting successfully for a Kenyan and Tanzanian company in connection with a complex arbitration dispute referred to the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) arising out of a consortium agreement.
  • Acting for Aggreko Uganda Limited (a thermal power distributor) contesting a VAT assessment levied it by the Uganda Revenue Authority of Ug. Shs. 145 billion (US$ 58 million). The matter was successfully defended by a judgment dated 12th September 2012.
  • Acting for Google Uganda Limited in a suit seeking a declaration to the effect that the exclusive supply of marketing and sales support services to Google Ireland Limited was an exported service and is, as such, zero-rated.
  • Acting for the Bank of Uganda and Standard Chartered Bank to recover US$ 34 million from guarantors of a company indebted to the latter under various facilities assigned to the Bank of Uganda.
  • Successfully acting for Absa Uganda Limited in an appeal in the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the decision of the High Court and Court of Appeal, which dismissed an application to set aside a consent judgment where the appellant had consented to repayment of a loan debt sum. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed that the appellant was indebted to Barclays Bank of Uganda Limited in the sum of about US$ 20 million by the date of judgment.
  • Acting for Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) in a tax dispute against Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) where URA takes the view that the export by UBL through a foreign related entity (which was a Ugandan resident for that purpose before export), amounted to a sale between UBL and the foreign related entity and these transactions attracted VAT of over US$ 70 million. UBL contends that there was no sale between itself and the related entity and that the related entity was simply its agent for the export, which under the law is zero-rated for VAT.
  • Acted successfully for the Bank of Uganda in a constitutional petition where the main issue was whether the takeover, liquidation, revocation of licence, and sale of the National Bank of Commerce by the Bank of Uganda was unconstitutional. The court by majority decision of 4:1 found that the acts of the Bank of Uganda were constitutional and dismissed the petition with each party bearing its own costs. This decision vindicates the Bank of Uganda in its role as regulator when it comes to supervision, and the closing and selling of financial institutions where their decline poses a systemic risk to the industry and economy.