Late Lawrence Mukiibi individually owned only 60 per cent of the eight schools, colleges and one university under the St Lawrence brand, this newspaper can reveal.
Our investigations based on records filed with the Registrar of Companies show that four of his elder children, however, owned the other shares in the institutions. In other words, it was a family business of a kind.
Another school, Lorencia Junior School-Nsangi, which falls under the St Lawrence brand, however, is independently owned by Ms Betty Nakato, Ms Melisa Muteefu and Ms Cecilia Nassaka all reported to be Mukiibi’s children. It was incorporated on May 13, 2014, with Ms Maria Justine Tulina, late Mukiibi’s daughter and heir, as the Rector.
Records at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, which registers companies, businesses and intellectual property rights, show that all the schools were incorporated between 1993 and 2014.
Ms Angela Nyesige, in a June 7 reply on behalf of the Registrar General, noted that their search, for example, found that St Lawrence Schools and Colleges Paris Palais Ltd as a company has 1000 ordinary shares each worth Shs50,000. Mukiibi owned 60 per cent of the shares; the daughter Tulina 20 per cent; her brother Peter Richard Ssemakula 10 per cent and Peter Kimuli Ssemakula another 10 percent.
“The shareholders double as the company directors with Maria Justine Tulina as the company secretary,” Ms Nyesige noted.
The family’s lawyer, M/s Salim Makeera & Advocates, filed most of the records of St Lawrence Schools and Colleges with the Registrar of Companies. The pioneer St Lawrence Citizens High School, formerly known as Kabaka’s Lake, also encompasses Crown City, Dreamland and Horizon campuses and late Mukiibi and daughter Tulina owned 60 and 40 per cent stakes in them, respectively.
The Horizon campus was founded as a girls-only institution in 1999 under the St Lawrence Citizens High School, according to official records, and London College of St Lawrence established in 2002 was owned by Mukiibi, Tulina and his two sons.
Mukiibi was wealthy and an avid supporter of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party which, combined with him owning star private schools in the country, placed him within a listening ear of the First Family whose children he taught in their formative stages of life.
It has emerged that Ms Tulina has taken charge of the institutions as agreed by the family, and she will be helped by her brothers; Peter Richard Ssemakula, the operation manager at St Lawrence University and Peter Kimuli Ssemakula, a director of St Lawrence Schools.
“I am going to continue with my roles; controlling the finances for both the primaries and secondary schools, but (will now) add on one of my (father’s) role of motivating and inspiring the students,” Ms Tulina said.
She said under her late father’s tutelage, she had already been in-charge of the day-to-day management of the schools, which she will maintain.
Those responsibilities, she said, include payment of salaries, buying of food for students and overseeing the library and laboratories.
About St Lawrence Schools
Seven of the St Lawrence Schools and Colleges, except the university in the city suburb of Rubaga, are located off Kampala-Masaka highway.
The first to be established was St Lawrence Citizens’ High School, formerly Kabaka’s Lake, in 1993. In 1997, it moved from Rubaga to the current Katende, on Kampala-Masaka Road, and was renamed Crown City.
The schools under this brand include Creamland and Horizon campuses.
In 2005, Paris Palais was born followed by the start of St Lawrence University in 2007.
Mukiibi separately founded the Academy of St Lawrence, a secondary school, to support the needy students in the neighbourhood of Buddo, Nabbingo, Nsangi and Kyengera.
Ms Tulina said she together with the staff will maintain the academic excellence of the institutions.
Her brother, Mr Ssemakula, who is in-charge of St Lawrence University, said that he will manage the institution using the structures established by the father. The university is struggling to off-set Shs4b loan with the Centenary Bank.
It was also in the limelight for teaching non-accredited courses, but Mr Ssemakula said he is resolving the matter with the National Council for Higher Education.
“I am sure that by the time we reach graduation, the students who were earlier affected will be ready to graduate,” he said.