KAMPALA, Uganda: When a lie is consistently repeated several times, it kind of become a fact. This has been the case with the fancy apartments along Lugogo Bypass where, rumor mills have always had it, they belonged to Rwandan President, Gen Paul Kagame.
However, what now emerges from the courts of law points to the contrary as an international audit firm is reportedly fighting to ‘recover’ the high-end apartments whose owner, The Investigator can irrefutably reveal, is Vijay Reddy Movva, and not Kagame.
Grant Thornton Management Limited (GTML) is the audit company belligerent to attach the luxury storied apartments with the intention of selling them off. GTML’s registered offices are found inside Lugogo House along Lugogo Bypass while the firm’s corporate promoters are recorded as Anil Ramachabal Patel and Jasmine Jayantilal Shah.
The forty four residential units under the looming danger of auction are owned by Vijay Reddy Movva’s company known as Visare Uganda Limited (VUL). The property is situated on plot 65A Lugogo Bypass overlooking Kampala Parents School. It sits on 0.351 hectares of land.
The woes dogging Reddy spring from a debt which his company (VUL) obtained from the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) during the first quarter of 2017. Reddy shopped for the debt sometime in February, 2017, aiming to complete the apartments in question. Alas, Reddy now looks to be in danger of losing the same apartments to GTML.
We now explore the question we promised to revert to. Two years after securing the facility, Reddy started encountering challenges reimbursing the debt. The debt had by this time swelled to two million and four hundred thousand United States dollars. Shortly thereafter, KCB started working on the process of selling off the securities pledged by Reddy to recover its money.
Fearing for the worst, Reddy resorted to the courts of law. To his relief, the commercial court’s deputy registrar, Omar Kisawuzi blocked the process on December 16, 2019. While Reddy managed to pull off the court order, affording him some breathing space, the injunction came with a condition which proved too stiff for him to meet.
The real estate developer was given merely two weeks within which to deposit a total of five hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars. This means, KCB was to sell Reddy’s apartments, if he failed to deposit the funds, by December 31, 2019. Given that the deadline was short and yet Reddy failed to get the funds himself, he turned to his buddies at the GTML for a financial bailout.
Flying from pan into fire
But as fate would have it, the very day Reddy approached the audit firm for the bailout, is the same the day his woes started going from bad to worse and still counting. Court documents reveal how Reddy, who was obviously desperate as the date for the sale of his apartments was fast approaching, if not expired, ended up writing an agreement accepting to sell twelve out of the forty four units to GTML.
Matter of fact, Reddy entered that agreement on the last day of the deadline which was December 31, 2019, according to credible information in our possession. After sealing the deal verbally with the firm of auditors who agreed to pay the money he owed KCB, Reddy introduced his newfound lenders to the bank where the same was reduced into writing on February 28, 2020.
The auditors have since paid what Reddy owed to the bank. They are now itching to take over and sell off the entire complex, forgetting the only 12 units they legally bought, all in the name of recovering their money. For starters, the money paid for the twelve units was way enough to settle KCB.
But now, a row is currently raging regarding how many residential apartments the firm of auditors is supposed to chop off. Reddy contends that GTML is entitled to only twelve apartments, but the auditors say the whole complex, comprising of forty four residential units, is theirs for grabs.
The auditors firm boasts of an upper hand in this battle. And Oh yes, the registrar of the commercial court, Omar Kisawuzi delivered a ruling on May 6, 2021, giving them the green light to proceed with the sale.
But before then, the GTML lawyers had written to Reddy on March 10, 2021 to say they had lost interest in the deal. They were no longer interested in the apartments because Reddy had purportedly failed to secure approval of what he was developing from the city’s planning authority, they wrote.
Most important, they remarked, they could not sell off the property to recover their money in absence of the approval. Consequently, they were now, instead asking for a refund of close to four million United States dollars from Reddy and then move on. Nevertheless, Reddy is grappling with an appeal to see if he can save his property.
Reddy’s lawyers of Muwema and Company advocates are waiting for a certified copy of Kisawuzi’s ruling, upon receipt of which, they will study the verdict properly and pick out what they disagree with and then put together the appeal.
As we have shown already, what riles Reddy is the fact that the sale and purchase agreement, speaks of twelve apartments, yet Kisawuzi granted a ruling giving away the whole complex. He says the auditors themselves signed the agreement drafted, moreover, by their own lawyers, yet they are now plotting to sell off the whole complex.
“Attaching the 44 apartments would amount to a wrongful attachment contrary to the agreements of the parties,” the lawyers for Reddy argued before Kisawuzi, but the registrar didn’t give heed. The auditors countered, submitting how Reddy had allegedly consented to the sale, upon failing to refund their money. Kisawuzi based on the consent registered with the court, to dismiss Reddy’s objection towards the sale.
One for the road
Another on bone contention revolves around what kind of transaction this was! One school of thought thinks that this was a moneylending transaction while the other maintains it was a sale and purchase transaction.
Who is telling the truth/lie?
We shall start with the school of thought which maintains this wasn’t a sale and purchase transaction but a moneylending business. This school of thought contends that since the audit firm lacks or lacked a moneylending license, they cleverly chose to pass off the transaction as a sale and purchase agreement, but which in reality, it wasn’t.
But why didn’t Reddy object? This school of thought argues that since the businessman needed the financial bailout to be processed pretty fast, it explains why he didn’t ask questions regarding the wording of the agreement.
Put the other way round, all this man wanted at this direst hour was money to save his property from a looming auction. So, he didn’t have the luxury of time to argue about the wording of the agreement.
After all, this school of thought continues, the audit firm knew from the word go they weren’t buying property but lending out money yet they are now ‘denying’ this fact because they are looking to auction the property.
The contrary school of thought challenge the view above alluding to the agreement, which they reason, speaks for itself. In other words, the point this school of thought seeks to drive home is that records don’t lie… When contacted, Anil said he was away in India and hence unavailable for a comment… Watch this space…
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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