KAMPALA, Uganda: Money can do everything the holder may want it to, save for changing reality in one’s past. This is a fact we have learnt upon recovery of what happened 30 years ago in the life of our self-sung tycoon and Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Consul to Uganda, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia.
Since he started the cold war against the mighty Investigator supposedly for publishing the story of how he fraudulently bought Simbamannyo House from Equity Bank, several people have urged us to dig deep into Sudhir’s arrest at the airport 30 years ago. Though some people in their forties have an illusionary memory of the arrest, none knows of the particulars.
Trust money, not even in renowned archives centers in Kampala we could find this record. Even search engines know about only what Sudhir himself want them to know of him. Well, we are here to resurrect the three decade old story which, was first published in the New Vision of Saturday November 9th 1991 under the headline; “Customs impound forex in Entebbe.”
Reported by Ndyakira Amooti, the story is hereby reproduced with, but light edits: “Forex worth 194 million shillings was intercepted by customs officials at Entebbe Airport last weekend. According to reliable sources in the Ministry of Finance, the forex in personal checks and Bank drafts was contained in a DHL parcel that had been declared as documents.
The parcel was about to be delivered to a waiting Kenya Airways plane. The impounded forex checks and bank drafts amounting to USD81201.50, British Pounds 57101 and Germany DM47500, an equivalent of UGX194M. The Director General of Customers Prof. Samuel Karugire confirmed the seizure of the checks in question and said they were still investigating the matter.
The sources said last Saturday, when the airport customs made an impromptu check of the DHL parcel about to go in the Kenya Airways plane, they discovered the parcel contained various personal checks and bank drafts without authorization documents. The declaration form on the envelope stated that there were documents inside. On the parcel, it was indicated that the sender was Patrick B. of P.O Box 55047, Kampala.
The DHL parcel in question was being sent to a company in the United Kingdom by the names of Stop-n-Go on the address 199, Arundel Street, Portsmouth. The sources which preferred anonymity, said the impounded DHL parcel contained personal checks sold to Crane Forex Bureau amounting to USD12001, British Pounds 7091 and Germany DM3,000.
Also found were Bank Drafts issued by Barclays Bank in Kampala to various persons and companies. The drafts amounted to USD54500, another amount of British Pound 50000 in bank drafts had been issued by the Standard Chartered Bank in Kampala.
The parcel further contained USD11, 100 in the Bank Drafts issued by Kampala based Nile Bank. There was another DM34500 and USD3500 in checks belonging to a Company that was unidentified. By Thursday evening, no one had turned up at Entebbe Customs to claim the impounded checks.
However, yesterday afternoon, sources from the customs said Patrick Baguma of Club Tropicana 1-Ten had written to the department claiming the intercepted forex. The Reporter went to DHL offices in Kampala twice yesterday for a comment on the matter but was told that a one Apollo Spencer who would make a comment was not in office. This is the second incident in which forex have been intercepted at Entebbe Airport in less than 20 days.
On October 13th, an Indian, one Rajendra Kumar Raichura, who was an employee of Kobil Limited at the time of the closed Orient Forex Bureau, was intercepted trying to smuggle out of the country, more than USD1M. Raichura and the Directors, Karia Morjaria and Ketan Morjaria have since been deported. The summary order to deport them was castigated by President Museveni”… End
Documents before our crime desk indicate how Sudhir was eventually identified as the prime suspect. Upon this revelation, the now tycoon and honorary Doctor spent some leisure moments in months, at the Luzira based University of Understanding. But trust his courage, he even unsuccessfully tried to bribe his way out of the saga, through then ISO Boss Brig. Jim Muhwezi. But that was a time when bribes were a no-mention… Watch this space…
- 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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