Simbamanyo tycoon loses Shs40b case, hotel, building

Sunday August 01 2021

Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue, which the bank auctioned to Meera Investments Limited last year. PHOTO/FILE

By Anthony Wesaka

For the third time in a period of about six months, former owner of Simbamanyo Estates has lost an appeal in which he sought to recover a multibillion city building and a hotel from Equity Bank Uganda Limited.
The bank seized Simbamanyo House and Afrique Suits Hotel on Mutungo Hill in Kampala last year after city tycoon Peter Kamya and his Simbamanyo Estates failed to pay outstanding loans to a tune of $10.8m (about Shs40 billion).
In her Friday ruling, Commercial Court Judge Susan Abinyo dismissed the appeal with costs.
The appellants were challenging an earlier decision of the registrar of the same court, Lillian Bucyana, that disposed of all their cases in which they had sought to recover their property.
The properties include Simbamanyo building on Lumumba Avenue, which the bank auctioned to Meera Investments Limited last year, and Afrique Suites Hotel located in Mutungo Hill, Nakawa Division, Kampala, which was auctioned to Luwaluwa Investments.
“In the result, I find that this appeal is incompetent and not proper before this honourable court as the defective affidavits render the appeal incompetent. Appeal number 3 of 2021 for setting aside the orders of the registrar are dismissed,” ruled Justice Abinyo.
“Accordingly, the preliminary objection on a point of law by the respondents is upheld,” she added
Prior to the delivery of the ruling, Simbamanyo Estates lawyers Muwema & Co. Advocates, had on July 26, written to the court demanding that the ruling be delivered without delay.
The lawyers claimed that Meera Investments had asked the commissioner of Land  Registration to remove the caveat issued under the abated orders by the registrar.
Further, the lawyers claimed that as they waited for the Friday ruling, they learnt that Luwaluwa Investments was planning to sale Afrique Suits Hotel before the determination of their appeal.
When the bank sold the building and hotel after the loans went bad, Simbamanyo proprietors ran to court in 2020, seeking to stop the sale and recover the properties.
The tycoon first withdrew the case and later returned to court in February this year seeking to reinstate the case.
Court then ruled that he was out of time. The tycoon again appealed the decision, challenging the ruling.
The aforementioned prime properties were guaranteed to Equity Bank Uganda as security by Simbamanyo Estates in a bid to secure a $10.8m loan in November 2017.
Along the way, Simbamanyo Estates allegedly defaulted on its loan repayments, prompting Equity Bank to devise means of recovering its money.
Subsequently, on August 7 and August 11 last year, the bank advertised the sale of the two properties by way of public auction, which were bought by Meera Investments and Luwaluwa Investments respectively.