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Why Sudhir Snubbed COSASE Invite In DAPCB Inquiry

Businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the chairman of Ruparelia Group and Managing Director of Meera Investments Limited snubbed an invite by Parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, to answer queries on how he acquired certain properties within the city.

The committee investigating how politicians and businessmen across the country acquired properties from the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) had invited Ruparelia to appear before the committee on Wednesday and explain how he acquired five properties.

However, the businessman on the same day, through his lawyers of Walusimbi & Co Advocates wrote back to the committee head Ibrahim Kasozi, the Makindye East MP, saying their client cannot appear before Parliament since he has never purchased any properties from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board.

"Our clients noted your invitation for him to appear tomorrow - 4/12/2019 - before the committee with regard to your inquiry into matters of the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board land purchases.

In the result, he (Sudhir) requests for your advice as to why his presence is required, especially it being that he has never purchased any property from the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board, nor has he claimed on behalf of anybody.

Your detail, as requested for above, will enable him to benefit from informed legal advice and approach the matter from an informed view." Walusimbi & Co Advocates said in the letter.

In response, Kasozi wrote back naming five properties that the committee is interested in - the properties are Plot 23 on Jinja Road, Plot 24 on Kampala Road, Plot 5 on Colville Street, Plot 3 and 5 on Bombo Road in Kampala and Plot 26 on Republic Street in Mbale, eastern Uganda.

And still, in a written response, Sudhir through his lawyers denied, saying: "Our client reiterates that he has in all instances not purchased any said properties from the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board, which your esteemed committee is inquiring into."

About the building on Plot 43, Jinja Road, Ruparelia said what he possesses does not march with the descriptions of COSASE. However, he promised to make a search at the Lands Registry and report to Parliament.

The city tycoon insisted that he possesses a genuine land title for the property on Plot 8, Colvile Street in Kampala, which he said he purchased from registered owners.

For Plot 24 on Kampala road, Mr Sudhir said he bought the property under his company, Meera Investments Ltd and that in 2012, he won a court case, which DAPCB had instituted against him challenging his ownership.

He said that Plot 3 and 5 on Bombo Road were bought from Joint Ven (U) Ltd. He also said that Meera investments Limited never bought from DAPCB using third parties.

Ruparelia To COSASE: I Didn’t Buy Any Of My Properties From DAPCB

Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has said that he never purchased any properties from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB).

He then challenged the decision by COSASE to summon him in relation to how he acquired five houses that are said to have been part of departed Asians’ properties.

A COSASE Sub-committee headed by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi, which is investigating the alleged fraudulent acquisition of departed Asians’ properties, had on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, invited Ruparelia to appear before the committee on Wednesday and explain how he acquired five properties.

The properties in question are Plot 43 on Jinja Road, Plot 24 on Kampala road, Plot 8 on Colville Street, Plots 3 and 5 on Bombo road (all in Kampala) and Plot 26 on Republic Street in Mbale Town.

But Ruparelia, through his lawyers of Walusimbi & Co Advocates wrote back to Kasozi, saying their client cannot appear before Parliament since he has never purchased any properties from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB).

“In the result, he (Sudhir) requests for your advice as to why his presence is required, especially it being that he has never purchased any property from the DAPCB nor has he claimed any property on behalf of anybody,” the lawyers wrote in a December 3 letter.

About the building on Plot 43, Jinja Road, Mr. Ruparelia said what he possesses does not march with the descriptions of COSASE. However, he promised to make a search at the Lands Registry and report to Parliament.

The city tycoon insisted that he possesses a genuine land title for the property on Plot 8, Colvile Street in Kampala, which he said he purchased from registered owners.

For Plot 24 on Kampala road, Mr. Sudhir said he bought the property under his company, Meera Investments Ltd and that in 2012, he won a court case, which DAPCB had instituted against him challenging his ownership.

“With your guidance, we need to advise our client whether matters decided upon by court can be subjected to an inquiry,” the lawyers’ letter to COSASE states.

SOURCE: PMLDaily News

Attempt By MP Kasozi Plans to Humiliate Sudhir Unearthed

The COSASE subcommittee investigating the grabbing of departed Asians properties has turned its guns against businessman Sudhir Ruparelia after the tycoon showed no interest in wetting the committee head’s beak.

Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi who presides over this committee has vowed to embarrass Sudhir who is not shaken by the threats from COSASE but offered to volunteer information on how he genuinely acquired the properties questioned by Kasozi led- team.

For example, through his lawyers Walusimbi advocates, Sudhir has responded to queries on how he acquired plot 24 on Kampala road, plot 8 on Colville street in Kampala and plot 74 LVV711 IN Jinja.

In one of the cases raised by Kasozi, Sudhir’s lawyers informed him the contest on plot 24 was settled by the court in a decision between Meera investments and Departed Asian Property Custodian Board.

Earlier, Sudhir had sought guidance from Speaker Rebecca Kadaga whether matters resolved by the court can again be discussed by parliament.

Sources at parliament reveal that however, Kasozi and his cohorts are planning a mega attack on the tycoon by embarrassing him with an arrest should he appear before the subcommittee.

While responding to the committee’s summons, Sudhir insists on knowing the agenda since he has never repossessed any departed Asians properties.

A source added that Kasozi and his team have secretly been lobbying the tycoon to wet their beak if they are to let him off the hook, to their consternation he said he will not cough a coin.

To their disappointment, the tycoon has stood his ground saying he has no case to answer before Parliament.

A few months ago, Sudhir was quoted in the media saying he bought whatever property being mentioned against his name- a case in point being Plot 24 Kampala road which sources say is being eyed by some sections within the government.

Information from sources reveals that now the MPs, frustrated by the tycoon, have now invited him to Parliament so that they can humiliate him through an arrest.

This is all aimed at intimidating the unrelenting tycoon. A source said Kasozi and his clique have held several meetings at Fung Fung restaurant opposite Nakasero Primary School designing a robust plan to embarrass the money magnet.

SOURCE: Trumpet News 

Lawyers Refuse To Meet COSASE Over Departed Asians’ Property

The president of Uganda Law Society (ULS), Simon Peter Kinobe, has written to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga rejecting a proposed meeting with the Committee on State Authorities and Statutory Agencies (COSASE) to answer queries about some expropriated properties.

Under the chairmanship of Kawempe South Member of Parliament Mubarak Munyagwa, COSASE in a public advert invited lawyers and law firms which represented several businessmen and government officials who bought properties from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) to submit documents pertaining to the transactions.

Munyagwa and COSASE are investigating the dubious sale of Departed Asians’ properties worth billions of shillings to city tycoons and government officials, including those that government had already repossessed and compensated their owners for them.

However, through the ULS president Peter Kinobe, the lawyers wrote a letter on November 21, 2019 titled ‘EXPROPRIATED PROPERTIES’ to Kadaga, notifying her that by law, they are barred from divulging information regarding transactions and dealings for their clients, during or after representing them.

“We refer you to the above captioned subject, which is now the source of an enquiry by the Committee on State Authorities and Statutory Enterprises (COSASE) and to the advert which ran in the Daily Monitor on 15th November, in which some of our members who are Advocates were invited to appear before the COSASE on alleged participation in the repossession/disposal of Expropriated properties.

“By that advert, Advocates are requested to bring documentary EVIDENCE of actions taken on any property they could have professionally handled. However, there’s no special mentioning of the properties or names of clients for which this request is made.

“Be it as it may, the request puts our Members in direct conflict with the laws and regulations governing Professional Conduct of Advocates, particularly the Evidence Act and the Advocates Professional Conduct Regulations.

“More so, the Supreme Court in the case of Uganda Development Bank Vs Kasirye Byaruhanga, Supreme Court Civil Appeal No. 35 of 1994 confirmed that an Advocate cannot be forced or compelled to divulge client informs acquired during the course of acting as an Advocate.

“Some of the Advocates have also indicated that some of the  properties falling in this category of the inquiry are ongoing court matters and therefore subject to the Subjudice Rule.

“In light of the above legal position governing Advocates, the blanket advert request is irregular and we request you to guide COSASE accordingly. We anticipate that this matter will be positively handled,” parts of the letter reads.

Crane Management Services Offering Traders Three Rent-free Months

The Christmas festive season gives any aspiring entrepreneur an opportunity to kick start their dream of starting a trading business because it is a time when most members of the public are in the mood of shopping and stocking their day to day life supplies.

For this to pan out well for such aspiring traders, they need a strategic rentable venue to set up their business stock and be able to access customers to buy from them and to sustainably make the much-cherished profits.

Well aware of this need to facilitate traders, Crane Management Services (CMS), a leading real estate company in the country, is offering new clients three rent-free months offer upon paying for their initial rent fees at their various commercial properties. 

Crane Management Services, a company under the Ruparelia Group, owns and manages commercial buildings like Electrical Plaza, Hardware Plaza, Crane Plaza Hardware City, Kampala Boulevard, Kingdom Kampala, The Cube, City Plaza, City House, Market Plaza, Royal Plaza, The Plaza, Eagle Plaza, Tourist Plaza, Ntinda Warehouse, Industrial Area Warehouses and Banda Warehouses.

Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Crane Management Services Limited said they are offering city traders three rent-free months such that they can have a chance to operate their businesses without any encumbrances or stress about rent.

“Our properties are strategically located in some of the most popular, busy and affluent areas in the country. We offer exciting retail, restaurant and office spaces to let," Rajiv said in an interview. The Three Rent-free months bonanza is available on a first-come-first-serve basis and will last only a limited time.

According to Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the proprietor, Crane Management Services was initiated with the sole purpose of providing a lasting Real Estate solution aimed at making all stakeholders happy through providing quality residential, commercial (retail, official, and apartments), and industrial space.

It has since grown to become the leading real estate management company in Uganda and has also spread its wings into Rwanda.  

Sekanyolya Systems Takes Branch To Kingdom Kampala Mall

Sekanyolya Security Systems Limited has opened a branch at the glamorous Kingdom Kampala Mall, with the official opening on Wednesday being witnessed by the Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga.

Businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, who owns the magnificent Kingdom Kampala was also present. The businessman and the Buganda premier discussed business opportunities that can lead to economic growth.

Sudhir said he has used Sekanyolya systems for a long time and they are of good quality.

The owner of Sekanyolya Security Systems Limited Eliya Zizinga was praised by the kingdoms prime minister for standing the test of time and providing state of the art digital security solutions to his clients.

Mayiga also lauded Sudhir for standing with fellow Ugandan businessmen such as Zizinga and called upon Ugandans to support local businesses that offer quality products.

Zizinga revealed that they were offering eight per cent discount on clients buying CCTVs and electric fence systems bought at Kingdom Kampala branch this festive season.

Sekanolya specializes in the design and execution of complete turnkey technical solutions ranging from fire, security and Access Control Systems.

DFCU Drops Sebalu & Lule In Meera Investments Case

City law firm, M/S Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa & Co. Advocates, have announced that they are taking over from M/S Sebalu & Lule Advocates to represent DFCU Bank in a case filed by Sudhir Ruparelia’s  Meera Investments Limited who claim that the commercial bank with the help of central bank illegally took over its building that it had rented to Crane Bank.

“Take notice that we, M/s Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa & Co. Advocates have been instructed by the 1st Respondent (DFCU) to represent it in the above proceedings (Meera Investments Ltd vs DFCU Bank Limited and Commissioner Land Registration), in place of M/s Sebalu & Lule Advocates,” the new lawyers wrote in a notice received by the High Court yesterday, November 20.

According to Matooke Republic, the case arises from a series of events starting with an October 2016 takeover of Crane Bank by Bank of Uganda citing under capitalization. Crane Bank was sold to DFCU in January 2017, in what has been termed by both the Auditor General and Parliament as a transaction that smirked of collusion and possible corruption.

 

Bank of Uganda went ahead to deliver 48 Meera Investments titles that previously housed Sudhir’s Crane Bank’s countrywide branch network to DFCU. BoU claimed that these properties belonged to Crane Bank and had been fraudulently transferred to Meera.

Court has already pronounced itself on this matter in Sudhir’s favour after the tycoon’s lawyers based on the Land Act that states that a non-citizen cannot hold freehold property. Crane Bank’s majority shareholding was held by White Sapphire Limited a Mauritius based firm and Rasik Kantaria a British citizen, implying that it couldn’t legally own the property by law.

Unfortunately for DFCU, by the time court reached this decision, the bank had already transferred the titles to their names. This was on the ill advice of their lawyers Sebalu & Lule who were representing DFCU on the matter before court declared them conflicted. Sudhir also secured victory in the main case where BoU had accused him of siphoning money from his Crane Bank. Court threw out the case because a body in receivership (Crane Bank) cannot sue or be sued.

Jumia Black Friday Returns With More Sellers, Deals

Jumia Uganda Wednesday evening launched this year’s version of Jumia Black Fridays promising heavily discounted sales on different products that are traded on the e-commerce platform.

Ron Kawamara, the chief executive officer of Jumia Uganda, said they have signed up on sellers on the platform and partnered with new brands to provide Ugandan shoppers with the widest selection of offers.

He said that when the Jumia Black Friday sales commence on 8th November, till when it ends on 29th November, shoppers can get up to 80 percent on products from Samsung, Hisense, Mewe, Changhong and others.

During this period, shoppers will witness the launch of Redmi 8a selling at only Shs463, 500; while customers who will buy a Nokia 1 plus will also get a Nokia 105 ( a features phone) as a bonus.

“Our Black Friday sale doesn’t just benefit the consumers but it will also bring in more revenue for the sellers listed on our website, our logistics partners and the Uganda economy overall,” Kawamara said.

He revealed that last business worth Shs25bn was traded during last year’s Jumia Black Friday and this number is expected to grow because e-commerce is growing very fast in Uganda and becoming very relevant.

Kawamara stated that they are now selling more Ugandan products and because of this demand for Ugandan products, they are partnering with Ugandan manufacturers to sell their products on the platform.

 

Auditor General Haunting BoU Over Billions Injected In Crane Bank

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) is unable to recover the Shs 434 billion allegedly pumped into Crane Bank Ltd, before it was controversially sold to dfcu Bank in January 2017, reports PML Daily, a local online publication.

The publication writes that the Auditor General, Mr. John Muwanga, in  his September 23, 2019 report raised queries  on the impairment of amount due from Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) to Bank of Uganda, pursuant to Sections 87 (3), 88 (1) (a) & (b) of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004 (amended in 2016.

The report whose findings are contained in the 2018/2019 annual report of the central bank, notes that the BoU progressed Crane Bank Ltd from Statutory Management to receivership with BoU as the receiver.

“In exercise of its powers as the receiver, under Section 95 (1) (b) of the Financial Institutions Act 2004 (amended in 2016), BoU transferred certain liabilities of Crane Bank Ltd to dfcu Bank Ltd and in consideration of that transfer of liabilities conveyed to dfcu Bank, certain Crane Bank Ltd assets,” the AG noted.

The AG’s report notes that a cash consideration of UGX. 200 billion was agreed yet Bank of Uganda had injected UGX434.846 billion into Crane Bank Ltd during the Statutory Management period as part of the intervention action and the funds were to be recovered from Crane Bank Ltd.

The AG notes that by June 30, 2019, the dfcu Bank had only paid UGX. 140 billion with an outstanding balance of UGX 60 billion for which dfcu Bank is fully secured by Government of Uganda treasury securities.

As such, the outstanding balance on Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) is UGX258.697 billion which comprises of UGX60 billion due from dfcu Bank Limited and UGX217.906 billion due from Crane Bank Limited as at 30 June 2019 yet the amount due from dfcu Bank Limited is interest free and recoverable in the quarter ending Jan 2020.

The auditors noted that BoU performed an impairment assessment of the amount due from Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) and concluded that the full amount outstanding of UGX 217,906 billion as at June 30, 2019 is impaired due to uncertainty of its recoverability with the AG noting, “The Bank has raised sufficient provisions for receivables whose recoverability is in doubt.”

Youth Group Demands That Mpanga Returns Fees He Earned From BoU

Celebrated city lawyer David F. K. Mpanga of AF Mpanga Advocates, a member of Bowmans Gilfillan Africa Group, has been accused of harboring bad and unethical business practices, dishonesty, lack of integrity, professional ethics and being a conflicted lawyer by Uganda Poor Youth Movement, a local pressure group.

In the same manner, Uganda Poor Youth Movement want Mpanga to return Shs9bn paid to him and his law firm by Bank of Uganda because he didn't offer the services for which he was hired to offer when court kicked him off the case because he was conflicted, having represented Ruparelia Group which the central bank was versing.

Apparently, in 2017, Bank of Uganda hired the services of Mpanga and the law firm to represent them in a case the central bank had filed against Dr Sudhir Ruparelia accusing him of allegedly siphoning Shs397Bn from his Crane Bank before it was taken over by the regulator in 2016.

Mpanga was however thrown off the case after court ruled that he had conflict of interest because he had earlier as counsel represented Sudhir’s Ruparelia Group companies including Crane Bank and was privy to information he could use against his former client.

But even after not offering his legal professional services to the central bank, Mpanga didn’t return the Shs9bn which has been paid to him and it is on that basis that Uganda Poor Youth Movement are pressing him to return the tax payers money or they take legal action against the senior lawyer.

Uganda Poor Youth Movement, led by their speaker Zaid Ssempala, on Friday at a press conference revealed that they have since petitioned several organizations including the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) about the matter such that they can prevail upon Mpanga to refund the tax payers’ money which he pocketed for a job he never did.

“We have petitioned Bowmans Gilfillan African Group, the Uganda Law Society, International Bar Association UK Bar Association and other relevant authorities to get involved in this matter. Mpanga is exhibiting a lot of unprofessionalism and unethical behavior in his mode of operation, reason why these organization have to investigate his actions and institute the necessary disciplinary action he deserves,” Sempala told journalists at the press conference.

“On top of refunding the money BoU gave him for a job he didn’t execute, we also want him to apologize for his unprofessional conduct and wrongs he has committed against Ugandans, including those he disenfranchised before he was fired by Buganda kingdom which had employed him in key positions of offering legal advice to the Kabaka,” he added.

The UPYM also revealed that they have written to the Inspector General of Government and Bank of Uganda notifying them about the matter but that both institutions have never responded, an indication that none of them is willing to recover the dime or compel Mpanga to refund it.

Because of the reluctance from both the IGG and BoU to fight this fraudulent enrichment, the UPYM warned that as tax payers they will not give up on their efforts to make Mpanga vomit the dime and show accountability for the same.

Also, in a letter dated 23rd October, 2019, addressed to Bowmans Gilfillan Africa Group under the tittle 'Complaint against Bad Business Practices, Dishonesty, Unethical Behavior, Conflict of Interest and Lack of Professional Ethics by Mr. David F. F. Mpanga and AF Mpanga Advocates’ UPYM want AF Mpanga and Mpanga punished for their reported bad dealings.

In the letter which highlights some of Mpanga's dealings that are said to be unethical, the youths argue that it is undesirable for a group like Bowmans to have characters such as Mpanga and AF Mpanga within the chain of law firms under their name because it contravenes the regulations and principles of Bowmans.

"As Bowmans, you have a duty to put your partners and members in line, all sorts of scandals have happened under your watch and not even once have you come out to condemn the actions of your partner (David F. K. Mpanga and Bowmans AF Mpanga Advocates) or even apologize to the public, previous clients and parties who have been humiliated publically and financially by people they trusted as their legal minds since lawyers are secret keepers and that's why they have the utmost fiduciary relationship with clients," a letter signed by Sempala reads.

Sempala in the letter also wants Bowmans to take extreme interest in Mr. David F. K. Mpanga's lack of ethics ‘because it directly affect the wider image of Bowmans as a group together with your present and future clientele.’

“We request that you not only condemn the actions of Mr. David F. K. Mpanga and Bowmans AF Mpanga Advocates in the strongest terms but further carry out extensive investigations into his negative actions/or omissions and bad practices and further also apologize to previous clients and other parties for any misdeeds occasioned to them,

We further request that you cease operations with Mr. David F. K. Mpanga because his track record of excellence in the legal profession has been tainted by the worst forms of evils any advocate and for the matter a senior barrister would desire to have attached to their record of service towards clients and the public at large.” the letter reads.

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