Whatever you do in top secrecy will be proclaimed on the mountain tops. Our Lord Jesus Christ uttered this warning in one of his sermons before ascending to Heaven. He was cautioning his followers and all of us their ascendants, to avoid doing evil deeds in secret because the same will be put there in the light and before everyone’s gaze on the day of judgement.
Controversial Kampala businessman, Sudhir Ruparelia bought Simbamannyo Building in Kampala in a fake auction which Equity Bank executed a week prior to the date it had advertised in the newspapers. He altered the building to Meera Investments in a space of two hours and also placed caveats on the same in only three minutes. The bank hadn’t informed the owner, to remove the caveats he had placed on the property earlier, to stop what he feared to happen and actually, the same ended up happening.
The businessman, following the deceitful purchase, altered the name of the building from Ssimbamannyo to Gender and Social Development Center, in recognition of the biggest tenant which is a government ministry. We know that the ministry cleared the six months arrears immediately upon Sudhir taking over as the landlord.Sudhir is also highly suspected to have used a proxy to buy another property known as Afrique Suites in Mutungo, also owned by Ssimbamannyo proprietor, Arch Peter Kamya.
The suspected proxy is known as Ronald Luwangula. We have since busted him to be a court clerk working at the supreme Court. This was in our maiden story about Ssimbamannyo fraudulent purchase titled; “An Auction that Never Was: Details how Dr. Sudhir bought Ssimbamannyo seven days before the due date for public sale.” Through this proxy, Sudhir is alleged to have paid more than three million United States Dollars for the property. The same property was intriguingly transffered on the same day and exactly at the same time and caveats placed on them the same day. It was registered in the names of the proxy Luwaluwa Investments.
Both properties belong to city businessman, Architect Peter Kamya. The auction was brought forward and done in secrecy. This was dinry to defeat Kamya’s efforts to pay the debts for which the two properties were falsely sold. And also to undercut the appeal process which he had embarked on. Kamya says the price of Simbamannyo was grossly undercut. Sudhir bought it at five million United States Dollars. Kamya asserts the property’s true value at the time of the impugned auction, was above twelve million United States Dollars.
For his undercover services, Sudhir is suspected to have paid Luwangula a total of seven hundred thousand United States Dollars. Luwangula’s account was opened at Equity bank purposely to be use by him to receive the ransom fee. The auction, as per the advert, was stated to be on October 8th2020. But Sudhir paid the deposit of the sale price amounting to one million United States dollars on October 1st2020. Sudhir’s lawyers of Walusimbi and Walusimbi and Company Advocates had sent an email to the lawyers of Equity, Katende, Ssempebwa and Company Advocates, to ask if the deal was available.
He sent the email on September 25th 2020. Counsel Sim Katende now for Equity, wrote back, assuring Sudhir all was well with the deal. Fearing to lose his deposit amounting to one million of United States Dollars to the impugned deal, Sudhir requested his lawyers of Walusimbi and Walusimbi and Company Advocates to contact the lawyers for Equity, asking for a performance based guarantee undertaking to refund the deposit in case the building ended up sold to another person as opposed to him.
Sim Katende wrote back on behalf of the bank assuring Sudhir to take heart because the deal was for him to get. The lawyer noted that the bank was willing to write the performance guarantee which the financial institution, infact did. So, Sudhir, after receiving the assurance, wired the deposit to the bank account of the lawyers number 10362007273498 held in Equity. This was done on August 1st 2020, clearly a week to the genuine auction. Interestingly, a total of seven hundred United States Dollars was paid out to the account of Ronald Luwangula via account number 1002201586895.
The balance was purportedly spent to cover recovery costs for Simbamannyo building. Now, after receiving an application from Architect Peter Kamya’s lawyers of Byenkya and company advocates, for recovery of the emails and documents involved in this impugned deal, Justice Stephen Mubiru ruled that it was worthy granting. He noted that Kamya was right not to ask for the documents from Equity. This is because Equity Bank, Sudhir, and Luwangula had fought hard to suppress even court, from looking at the alleged documents.
The judge now ruled that the exhibits should made available to the courts in fourteen working days, calculated from last night (August 9th 2022). The same must be produced with a sworn oath as proof that there are genuine. “Considering the zeal with which the respondents have attempted to prevent the application from securing the order of discovery, I hold the view that their voluntary cooperation upon receipt of Kamya’s reqetst to produce the documents would be mostly unlikely” the Chief Judge at the Commercial Section of the High Court ruled.
The judge concluded that even if Kamya himself had asked the bank to avail him the documents, the same would have been an exercise in futility. The bank’s MD, Samuel Kirubi had insisted on non-production of the account numbers of Luwangula and that of it’s lawyers, claiming that doing so would amount to violation of their privacy and also the law on evidence. Luwangula had also put up a big fight saying his presence in the proceedings and production of his account to court, was unnecessary because he used his own funds to buy Afrique.
Sudhir said he didn’t know anything about what he was accused of having done and said he bought only Simbamannyo and legally so. But the judge nailed all of them by directing the bank to provide the documents involved in the deal for court’s own inspection, because it was necessary to meet the ends of justice. Whereas the lands office effected the transfers from Kamya and Simbamannyo, and that of Afrique to Meera and Luwaluwa Investments respectively, they also claimed that their presence in court was unnecessary. Watch this space for a layman`s interpretation of this ruling…
- 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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