President Museveni has ordered Bank of Uganda to carry out a probe into the sale of Simbamanyo building along Lumumba Avenue to businessman, Sudhir Ruparelia.
After losing a shs40 billion court case in which its proprietors challenged the sale of the multimillion property by the Equity bank in a bid to recover outstanding loans, Simbamanyo building was sold later sold.
However, in a September, 3, 2021 to governor, Prof.Tumusiime Mutebile, President Museveni says that he has been petitioned by the building proprietors Peter Kamya and Dr.Magaret Munganwa over the sale of Simbamanyo building and Afrique Suites by Equity Bank.
“They state that whereas Bank of Uganda directed that there should be no foreclosure of mortgaged properties by banks during the Covid-19 pandemic, Equity Bank went ahead and sold their properties at very low prices,” Museveni says in the letter.
He states that the proprietors of the two building met and explained that whereas they offered to get buyers for the two buildings, the efforts got frustrated until the buildings were later sold by the bank.
Museveni says he is not satisfied with what could have happened and wants BoU to carry out an investigation into the sale and report back to him in a week’s time.
“This is therefore to direct that you expeditiously investigate the matter and report back within one week,” Museveni says.
In September 2020, the High Court in Kampala gave the proprietors of Simbamanyo Estate which comprises Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue, which houses the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and three plots of land housing Afrique Suite Hotel at Mutungo in Luzira, Nakawa Division 30 days to pay shs11 billion in order to save their property.
This was after the court’s registrar, Susan Kanyange had earlier ordered the proprietors to deposit within four days the said shs11 billion which was 30% of the outstanding shs40 billion with the bank in order to halt the sale of the property by public auction.
All this came on the backdrop of Equity Bank advertising the sale of the two multibillion properties by public auction after the proprietors failed to pay an outstanding loan.
Simbamanyo proprietors had in November 2017 guaranteed the properties to Equity Bank as security for a $10.8m loan and after defaulting on payment, the bank moved to sale the property to recover the loan.
Following the advertisement by Equity Bank, the proprietors ran to court to stop the sale but they withdrew the case but in February this year, they sought to reinstate it.
However, court ruled that the proprietors were out of time and their efforts to appeal the decision in all courts proved futile and consequently, the properties were sold.
Peter Kamya, one of the proprietors of the estate says there was collusion and fraudulent dealings in the sale of the properties by Equity Bank to businessman Sudhir Ruparelia’s Meera Investments.
He says it was wrong for the sale to happen last year without issuing of a fresh notice of sale as required by the law.