KAMPALA, Uganda: As the controversy surrounding the dubious transfer of the Simbamannyo Building into the names of Meera Investments Limited (MIL) continues to unfold, we can commandingly divulge how the Police has since taken interest into the saga.
The Police are relatedly probing another burglary at the Afrique Suites Hotel which happened simultaneously with the forced entry at Simbamannyo Building in the wee hours of the night. The latter multi-million building is sited just a stone’s throw from the Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) and the High Court Building in Kampala.
The police investigations have been happening under cover up to this juncture when we are blowing the veil off them. We were prompted into action after reports on social media claimed how the investigations had been called off by the police and DPP.
But we suspected the social media reports to be a ruse after our investigations discovered that the suspects had never been summoned to write statements yet a file number KMP/E/GEF/117/2020 was duly opened by the police. The police has, as the case should be, never written to the complainant to communicate the discontinuation of the investigations as the sponsored social media reports claimed.
The last the police wrote on December 20th 2020 to the complainant’s lawyers and, the KMP East Regional CID Officer D/SP Topher Gimei Nakoko, pointed out that letters had been sent to the MD Equity Bank, MIL and Luwaluwa Investments Limited (LLI), as well as to the lawyers of Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates, directing them to give in a number of documents as well as writing the witness statements.
A Supreme Court Clerk, Ronald Luwangula purportedly bought Afrique Suites Hotel through his company known as Luwa-Luwa Investments (LLI). He is purported to have bought the prized hotel at more than USD4M, supposedly too high a feat for a subordinate judicial officer Luwangula is, hence our instincts of him being a proxy.
In fact, email chats we have since dug up indicate how Sudhir paid a deposit of USD1M to Equity Bank lawyers of Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates out of which, a total of USD700000 was paid out to Luwangula, ostensibly for helping Sudhir or someone else, to buy Afrique Suites Hotel under cover.
Because Luwangula alleges to have bought the hotel through Luwa-Luwa Company and Ssempebwa & Co. Advocates acted as lawyers for him and Sudhir in the transaction, becomes the reason why police want them to write statements regarding the alleged fraud reportedly cited in the two transactions.
Acting on behalf of Simbamannyo Estates (the owner of the two properties), Muwema and Company Advocates wrote on February 2, 2021 seeking a clarification about the social media allegations that the DPP had discontinued the investigations.
They also asked for written explanation regarding that position if at all has ever been issued by the DPP. The lawyers of Muwema and company advocates have since been waiting for the confirmation from both the police and the DPP but none has come to date.
Police sources as well as the DPP said there is no shortcuts two offices can discontinue the proceedings without taking statements from the two parties concerned and that the DPP would have informed the complainant accordingly.
The alleged breaches of the two properties happened shortly after the ownership had, in a matter of three hours changed hands from Simbamannyo Estates into those of MIL and Luwa-Luwa Investments Limited (LLI) respectively.
Engineer Peter Kamya, the proprietor of the two prized properties, has since filed a lawsuit to express his discontentment at what he terms as the dubious method through which Equity Bank sold off the two properties. He cites connivance of the highest order between the Bank and Sudhir.
The specialized draughtsman turned entrepreneur takes issue with the suspicious manner through which the lands office removed caveats he had placed on the properties, in anticipation of foul play as the one which actually happened.
Since he received no prior notice before the lands office removed the caveats he had placed on the two properties, and because he had also started on an appeal process to try to save the same from auction, Kamya contends that the sale was barred by such reasons.
After the caveats were removed, Simbamannyo was transferred into the names of MIL owned by Sudhir while Afrique Suites Hotel changed ownership from Simbamannyo Estates to LIL.
The two transactions happened in less than three hours after Equity bank had sold off the properties for what Kamya says was a song.
In the lawsuit filed by Muwema and company advocates, Kamya also complains that a lot of his properties belonging to the two facilities that were breached were stolen during the burglaries above.
Apart from seeking to establish whether the two burglaries actually took place and whether properties were lost in the process, the Police further seeks to establish whether there was any fraud committed in the process of selling the mortgaged properties by the Equity Bank with the view of apprehending whoever was involved to be brought to book.
Kamya also wants an audit to establish the commercial value of the two properties since Equity bank sold them at an undervalued price.
- 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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