KAMPALA, Uganda: Way back in the days, then Ugandan Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Baalibaseka Bukenya hinted on the existence of Mafia in Government and, everyone, including the son of Kaguta himself, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni laughed it off as a trivial mindset.
Nevertheless, the myth that the political and economic affairs of Uganda are micro-managed and run by the mafia, is steadily taking form. Lately, the stories of Simbamannyo proprietor, Engineer Peter Kamya losing his properties to his creditors have flooded the mainstream and social media platforms, but with little or no hint of how!
In this first edition, we bring you a Supreme Court Clerk, a one Ronald Luwangula who purportedly bought one of Simbamannyo Estates Limited (SEL) properties in Mutungo, at a staggering price of USD4m. The subordinate court official bought the hotel in a well coined auction, as The Investigator have authoritatively confirmed. Luwangula is the purported buyer of the city’s prized Afrique Suites in Mutungo.
The alluring 3-Star hotel is nestled away in Mutungo, Nakawa Division. It sits on 0.1100 hectares of land. The little-known judicial officer is said to have bought the hospitality facility at an auction called by the Equity Bank. The bank sold the recreation facility purporting the owner had failed to service a loan he took in 2017.
The financial institution had put up notices inviting the people interested in purchasing the hotel when Ronald Luwangula supposedly stepped up and paid the enormous buy-out fee in no time. The hitherto owner, Engineer Peter Kamya, a reclusive professional architect and city businessman whose signature dress is Kaunda suits, is now trotting in Court corridors trying to question the procedures taken.
This hotel sale off is a case of double trouble for the lanky businessman since he also lost his premium Simbamannyo complex to tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia. This too, is wrapped in the same file where, Kamya’s lawyers are grappling to save him the loss, citing gross inconsistences involved in the entire transaction (Details in the coming stories).
Back to the main story; Luwangula is said to have bought the hotel through a company known as Luwa-Luwa Investments Limited (LIL). While the company is said to be carrying out the business of online trading, its certificate of registration indicates that it is a general services company.
Registered in October 2016, LIL’ subscribers are recorded as Ronald Luwangula and Claire Luwangula. The other four were reportedly juveniles at the time of the registration. And they are Rodney Jjuuko Luwangula, Rodrick Jjuuko Luwangula, Ronell Luwangula and Clare Ndagire Luwangula. The Company’s registered physical address is are recorded as Kob House along Ben Kiwanuka Street, in the vicinity of Imperial Hotel, overlooking Watoto Church.
Luwangula is believed to have bought the hotel in question on October 18th 2020. Curiously, the purchaser was not only able to transfer the property within a matter of less than two hours, but was also able to place a caveat on his new catch within almost the same time! Court records indicate how the ownership of the property was altered at 2.03pm and then a caveat was placed at 2.06pm. In other words, the two transactions happened in a space of three seconds!
Records harbor that the transfer was effected under instrument number KCCA-00074654 while the instrument for the caveat is number KCCA-00074657. The fact that the purchaser altered the ownership of the property and even caveated it in the manner he chose to, helps perhaps, to indicate he was fully aware of the controversy surrounding the whole deal by the time he chose to go into the transaction.
This website understands that the deal was concluded before the actual auction took place. The auction the bank alleges to have carried out was merely a formality ostensibly to hoodwink whoever they wanted to. In fact, we have good reason to suspect that the buyer of this hotel was a different person altogether. The one on paper, and the same we are laboring writing about, must merely be a proxy for someone weighty.
Documentary evidence further suggests that someone paid really good money beforehand to the lawyers of the Equity Bank, possibly as an inducement to help him land the property. We have established that the Bank lawyers exchanged notes with the buyer’s lawyers to ultimately buy the property or refund the staggering ‘kitu kidogo’ in dollars.
During the email exchanges, the ultimate buyer asked the Bank lawyers to get a guarantee from their client that he would be refunded the money he paid upfront, in the event the bank sold the same to a different person.
We understand that out of the money which, by all nature and structure replicates a bribe, the alleged buyer, Luwangula, on 1st October 2020, received USD700, 000, hence crediting claims of him possibly posing as a proxy. Why would one be bribed to buy something they truly want and able to have!
That Luwa-Luwa had less than a month before the transaction opened up a United States Dollar Account in the same bank that auctioned the property , is another story of its own. Going by the certified documents before us, our Investigators claim a right to believe that the account was opened by Luwangula for purposes of receiving his share out of the money the true buyer deposited in bribe.
Whereas we are not condoning Eng. Kamya for reportedly failing to please his creditors on the agreed repayment schedules, we are persuaded that negative efforts were too heavy for him, given the fact that everything was pre-arranged long before even the official sell-off was in the drive gear.
Court documents indicate how the no nonsense city lawyers of Muwema and Company Advocates have started on the tricky legal journey to reverse SEL properties’ sale. They aver that Equity Bank acted in violation of Kamya’s rights to redeem the mortgages issued under the impugned facility of 30th November 2017. Watch this space for the chilling series of the rule of the mafia.
- Stanley Ndawula is a two and a half decades’ seasoned investigative journalist with a knack for serious crimes investigations and reporting. He’s the Founding Editorial Director and CEO at The Investigator Publications (U) Limited
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