At the height of the madness of privatizing public assets, some Tunisian guys posturing as serious investors flew into Uganda. Since investors are guaranteed an unrestrained access to State House, these chaps didn’t encounter any problem when it came to meeting Uganda’s CEO.
Styling themselves as Al-Fourati Brothers, the sharp Arabs upon landing the rare chance of meeting up with the big man with a hat, didn’t beat around the bush. They went straight to their visit` object. “Your Excellency Sir, we are here to buy into Nile Hotel,” the Arabs kicked off the conversation with Museveni.
As the host rolled his eyes, trying to figure out the demeanor and body language of the visitors, and before he could re-join, the Arabs continued, “W’Allah, we are very serious about it… Sir. If only you can give us an opportunity… we are going to turn the facility into a wonder recreation center.”
Insiders now reveal to us how the Arabs’ visit had been arranged by one of the top brokers in town. This broker was in turn working for powerful deal fixers in State House. Following this and other meetings, the President finally caved into handing over Nile Hotel to the Arabs.
These Arabs were smart enough. They even conned the Old-Man-With-The-Hat into parting with the Title of the facility itself! They left State House chocking on laughter. They didn’t do anything regarding what they had pledged to do in respect of refurbishing the hotel.
After checking out Nile Hotel for days on end without seeing anything going on as far as refurbishing it is concerned, Museveni lost his cool. He summoned the Arabs who kept telling him this and that siasa on each and every successive meeting.
Oh! the rebel in General Museveni rose boiling with anger! He asked for the Title. The Arabs kept dodging him. Yet the president was thinking of talking to Aga Khan or other serious investors to privatize the Hotel to.
After the president had exerted a lot of pressure onto the Arabs to produce the Title, they trotted to courts of law to save the deal from being passed on to other investors.
In the meantime, the Arab conmen also kept the Title securely hidden away. They were now using the Title, of course, as a bargaining tool, you can read blackmailing tool, if you so wish, regarding negotiations going on in court.
With the Arabs hell-bent on confiscating the Title for good yet government was talking to Aga Khan to salvage the bad situation, and given that government didn’t want the embarrassing issue to spill into public arena, the administration finally agreed to buy them out.
As we tried to look back at how the `deal` finally got closed, reliable sources privy to these matters confided in us last night that government parted with a `compensation` in the region of USD5m before the Arabs could finally release the Title.
After securing the same, Tibuhaburwa, son of Late Amos Kaguta then contacted Aga Khan who gladly bought off Nile Hotel, changing the hitherto renowned Amin’s torture dungeon into the now magnificent Serena Hotel and, on 10th November 2006, he officially inaugurated it in the presence of the new owner, His Highness the Aga Khan.
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