What you need to know:
- Simbamanyo is embroiled in a property dispute with Equity Bank Uganda and Equity Bank Kenya resulting from unpaid loans that had been advance to the real estate company.
- Simbamanyo Estates is also accusing Equity Bank Uganda of providing Equity Bank Kenya with an illegal cover to conduct business in Uganda where it has no jurisdiction.
Property Mogul Sudhir Ruparelia is now the new landlord for Simbamanyo House, accommodating the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) in Kampala.
Meera Investments Ltd owned by the property mogul, acquired the building through an auction put up by Equity Bank in an effort to recoup unpaid loan amounting to about $8.1million (nearly Shs30billion).
For some time now, the dispute between Equity Bank and Simbamanyo Estates, located on Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue has been brewing as it continues to play out in the Court of law.
Daily Monitor has seen different documents indicating the sale of the property housing the MoGLSD to Meera Investments Limited which is an investment arm of the Ruparelia Group of Companies.
Equity Bank confirmed the development but Simbamanyo attorney described the sale as "illegal and fraudulent."
Mr Fred Muwema, the lawyer representing Simbamnayo Estate in this matter, told Daily Monitor that “We are still in court over this matter and there is caveat already on the property forbidding transfer until the case is heard and resolved.”
He continued: “The battle is not over and as we speak, we are in possession of the property. I don’t understand why the bank is in a hurry. This has happened before and we took it away from them. The bank should wait until the final court decision on this matter is made.”
CL Risk Management Services, who auctioned the house on behalf of the bank said in a statement on Thursday that the tenants in the property will now be dealing with Sudhir as the new landlord going forward.
“The property has been sold to Meera Investments Limited thus making them your new Landlord. You are now requested to regularise your tenancy, occupancy and use of the property with your new Landlord—Meera Investments Limited,” reads part of the statement.
The statement signed by Mr Christopher Lumala the Managing Director, CL Risk Management Services further warned that payment regarding the use and related matters should be paid to nobody other than Meera Investments Limited.
The Managing Director, Equity Bank Uganda Limited, Mr Sam Kirubi, also in a statement issued on Thursday said that all the tenants were put on notice about the auctioning of the property in an advert placed in Daily Monitor newspaper on September 8.
“We are writing to inform you that Equity Bank Uganda Limited, as mortgage, has completed the sale if the above mentioned property, after a public auction concluded on October 8, 2020, to the best evaluated bidder M/s Meera Investments Limited. The new owners will be getting in touch with all tenants individually to work out the modalities for their ownership transition” the statement reads in part.
Meera Investments Limited was also immediately after the sale registered on the title of Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue. The statement of search signed by Mr Johnson Bigiira the Senior Registrar of Titles in Ministry of Lands indicates that Meera Investments Limited was registered on the title under Instrument Number KCCA 00074649.
Tycoon Ruparelia said this morning (Friday) that his company participated in the competitive bidding and he was displayed as the best evaluated bidder. With $5m (about 18.4b) bid, he became the most suited and competitive bidder, compelling the auctioneers to hand him the property.
“Meera Investments Limited were the highest bidder for the auction from Equity Bank and acquired the property by pay $5m. We are ready to meet our new tenants and promise to cooperate with them as we have done to our tenants elsewhere,” Mr Ruparelia said.
On August 20, 2012, Equity Bank Kenya and Equity Bank Uganda entered into a financial transaction agreement that would lead to release of $6m to Simbamanyo Estates, according to court documents filed in the Commercial Division of the High Court and seen by Daily Monitor.
The loan sought to finance the construction of Afrique Suites Hotel in Mutungo, Luzira north east of Kampala as well as facilitate a takeover a prior loan facility that had been advanced to Simbamanyo Estates by Shelter Afrique.
The two banks, details indicate pooled money together to advance the facility with at least $3.5m drawn from Equity Bank Kenya and $2.5m from Equity Bank Uganda.
The total outstanding including interest and operational fees, among others, court documents show, would come to at least $8.10m (Shs29.83b).
Simbamanyo is embroiled in a property dispute with Equity Bank Uganda and Equity Bank Kenya resulting from unpaid loans that had been advance to the real estate company.
The plots currently have developed properties, including Simbamanyo House, which houses Gender Ministry on Lumumba Avenue and Afrique Suites Hotel in Mutungo-Luzira.
Equity Bank Kenya and Equity Bank Uganda entered into a loan agreement in which the two banks agreed to advance Simbamanyo Estates with $6m.
The loans, which would make up a consolidate sum of $8.10m (Shs29.83b) including interest and operational fees, among others, sought to finance the construction of Afrique Suites Hotel in Mutungo, Luzira north east of Kampala and facilitate the takeover of a prior facility advanced to Simbamanyo by Shelter Afrique.
The two banks pooled money together with at least $3.5m drawn from Equity Bank Kenya and $2.5m from Equity Bank Uganda.
However, Simbamanyo Estates is challenging the outstanding sum, saying it is only aware of $7.19m (Shs26.48b).
Simbamanyo Estates also accuses Equity Bank Uganda of providing Equity Bank Kenya with an illegal cover to conduct business in Uganda where it has no jurisdiction.
The real estate company wonders how, according to the court document, Equity Bank and Bank One, which provided bridge financing of ($10m) were drafted into the loan agreement yet Simbamanyo had never applied for any facility from the two banks or own a bank account in any of the said financial institutions.