Finance (523)

Letter To President Museveni: Open Mutebile’s Investigation To All Who Have Lost Properties To Banks During Covid-19 Pandemic

Dear President,

Greetings. We woke up to a letter on social media purported from you, instructing Bank of Uganda Governor to investigate and report back to you a case in which Simbamanyo House, now, Gender and Labour House, changed ownership.

Assuming it is your letter (too much fake news on social media) dated September 3, 2021, where you directed Prof Mutebile to investigate in one week the matter in which Mr Peter Kamya and Dr Margaret Muganwa had appealed for your intervention in matters regarding the sale of Simbamanyo House and Afrique Suites by Equity Bank, you are opening a Pandora box that you may not close without being branded selective in who to save when everyone in the ship is suffering the same fate.

You said, Bank of Uganda had directed that there should be no foreclosures of mortgaged properties by banks during the Covid-19 pandemic – And that Equity bank went ahead and sold the properties at very low prices, despite the fact that they had offered to get their own buyers but their efforts were in vain. I wonder if this also covered customers who were already defaulting on their loan obligations before Covid-19 struck – or – you believe the pandemic can be used as a cover for anyone who wants to cheat lenders!

I am certain by now, Mr President, you have received Mr Mutebile’s report, given the fact that the time framework you gave him of one week has expired. However, I am asking you kindly to be a father (you prefer to be a grandfather) who cares for all. You should be aware, Mr President that thousands of your citizens have been affected by Covid-19. Not just Mr Kamya and Madam Muganwa! Many, including youths and women you gave money for Emyoga are struggling to pay back despite suffering the pandemic disruptions. Kamya’s excuses make all of us want to run to you to help lift the burden of paying our loan and rent obligations we have struggled to meet during the past two years.

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. Mr President, I would like to first thank that you for listening to the pleas of Mr Kamya and Dr Muganwa. And maybe, God has used the duo to bring the cries of thousands to your attention.

Mr President, Ugandans have been crying out to you since Covid-19 pandemic struck for your intervention to make banks suspend loan deductions until the pandemic is over. This is owed to the fact that Covid-19 disrupted many businesses , especially small and medium business owners. The same was asked that you intervene in the matter of landlords demanding rent in the period you locked down the country. No one was working, yet, landlords continued demanding rent arrears or confiscated properties of tenants to force them to pay for the arrears. Mr President, you advised us to sit down with landlords and find a compromise since landlords too had loan obligations to their financiers.

There has been deafening silence too, as school owners cried to you that banks were taking over their schools after school closures made them default on their loan obligations.

The common mwananchi, Your Excellency, has suffered and somehow found a way to settle their creditors or resigned and allowed the contracts to take their course.

I don’t know whether I was surprised, and indeed the whole country, that you chose to intervene in the case of ONLY one wealthy man, Mr Peter Kamya and his two properties.

The common mwananchi who had loan obligations with banks and other lenders have lost their small properties; plots, cars, motorcycles, televisions, chairs, phones, name it – whatever was offered as security before taking the money.

Mr President, there is been silence from all offices in the country as this was taking place because no one wanted to disrupt the financial sector without serious consequences.

Now, Your Excellency, it is not possible Mr Kamya is any different from other Ugandans who have defaulted their loans and lost properties – maybe because for him he has access to your office, and you in particular that you can intervene on a the case which has been actually ruled on by courts of law.

Mr President, how lucky is Mr Kamya! Can you imagine, you are pleading for a man who between July 27, 2018 and 29 July 2020, received a whopping total of UGX of ugx9 billion from the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, in rental fees alone! I had put the breakdown of that money herein! But he also has other tenants who continued to pay him but still failed to service the DEBT! He never paid a single cent to Equity bank in this period! Kamya must be lucky to get your intervention!

Mr Kamya is not one of the Ugandans seriously affected by Covid-19. In my opinion, having looked at his cases in courts, he belongs to a group of people who deliberately want to cheat banks using their connections and knowledge of corridors of power. If he cared about his assets, why did he continue defaulting on loan obligations despite the fact that was being paid for rent and other things! Mr President, you should also have this person of Peter Kamya investigated on how he earned and failed to pay – what was his motive? I also believe, Mr President, you need to interest yourself in when Mr. Kamya started defaulting on his Equity loans – It was not Covid-19 that got in his way.

Mr President, this is a slap in the face of hardworking and honest Ugandans who have continued to pay their loan obligations during the last two years – yet they are not as privileged as Mr. Kamya and Madam Muganwa!

The only difference between these people is that the wealthy people can access you and complain about banks and you call for interventions. And the poor have nowhere to run to.

In my opinion, if Simbamanyo followed the right procedure to change ownership, but still, the owner is assisted to regain it – Mr. Museveni you are opening a Pandora box where all of us loan defaulters will unite to ask for your intervention to stop banks and financial services from collecting loans.

Mr. President, if you are to be fair, you should open Mutebile’s investigation to include all mwananchi who have lost properties to banks during Covid-19 pandemic. You should also be in a position to pay debt obligations for those who don’t want to pay back once they borrow. That is the meaning of your directive, Mr. President. You are president for all, not just a few.

SOURCE: Watchdog News

Stanbic Dominates As Bancassurance Sees 54% Growth In Q2

The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) has published industry performance for the period April-June 2021 (Q2) with Bancassurance recording a 54% growth dominated by Stanbic Bank Uganda which consolidated its market-share to 21.2% from 19.1 between January and March.

According to IRA, the insurance industry registered impressive growth in the first six months of 2021 on account of improved product uptake and interest generating a total of UGX600bn in gross premiums.

Bancassurance (life assurance and other insurance products sold through banking institutions) contributed 8.2% of the industry’s total business in the first six months of the year.

In 2020, the bancassurance sector produced UGX32bn (full year volume) compared to UGX49.3bn in the first half of 2021 which represents a 54.24% growth, as per industry report published by the regulator.

For the period under review (April-June 2021), Stanbic Bank consolidated its first position by growing its industry market share from 19.1% in Q1 2021 to 21.2% in Q2 of 2021.

Stanbic Bank’s bancassurance business dominated its rivals in the industry, attracting UGX10.4billion in total Gross Premiums for the period April-June 2021.

The bank also out earned its peers, raking in UGX1.91bn representing 24.4% of all bancassurance commissions paid to banks for the period under review.

Stanbic Bank also dominated bancassurance business for Non-life (General insurance) product- lines generating UGX3.5Bn which is equivalent to 28% of total industry volumes.

Moving forward, Singh Dogo, Stanbic Bank Uganda’s Head of Bancassurance said focus will be on gaining market leadership for the Life insurance business where the lender enjoys 12% market share equivalent to UGX6.9Bn but two percentage points behind the top spot holder.

He added that the bank’s good performance in the second quarter was driven by growth in general insurance and credit life business as well as short-term insurance covers for clients.

“These are stable, and our projection is that they will continue to grow on account of their unique positioning to address customer coverage needs coupled with our assured fast claims service,” Dogo explained.

For the period ahead, Dogo sees Stanbic’s Bancassurance efforts focusing on expanding dominance in individual life products with value propositions on essential services such as Education, Medical, and life insurance policies.

“As Stanbic Bank transforms into a platform business, we hope to leverage on digital, data and behavioural science investment to drive growth, backed by enhanced ability to anticipate and respond to client needs and developing the right solutions for them,” he said.



BoU To Pay Billions In Costs After Withdrawing Appeal Against Sudhir

In an unexpected turn of events, Bank of Uganda (BoU) on 15th September announced it was withdrawing Civil Appeal No. 7of 2020 which they  (via Crane Bank Limited (in receivership) has logged in the Supreme Court against businessman Dr Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited.

In   the same spirit, Bank of Uganda stated that it will tolerate the respondent’s costs. “Take further notice that the appellant will pay the costs of the appeal and in the courts below to the respondents,” Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the financial sector, through their lawyers Messers Byamugisha & Co Advocates, said in a notice to Supreme Court.

Last year, Bank of Uganda ran to the Supreme Court to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling, which upheld an earlier High decision to dismiss a case that had been filed against businessman Sudhir by Crane Bank in receivership.

Prior, the Court of Appeal in Kampala threw out a case against Dr Sudhir.

The Panel of judges led by acting Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny- Dollo upheld the judgment of Commercial Court judge David K. Wangutusi in application filed by Bank of Uganda seeking a refund of Shs397 billion from Sudhir which he allegedly siphoned from the defunct Crane Bank. Court dismissed case with costs.

Bank of Uganda/Crane Bank in receivership (BoU) had appealed against an August 26, 2019 ruling where the High Court Commercial division dismissed with costs, the multi-billion lawsuit.

In his ruling, Justice Wangutusi stated that BoU/Crane Bank (in receivership) did not have a legal basis to sue Sudhir, the owner of Crane Bank, then the second biggest bank in Uganda.

Court ordered Bank of Uganda to pay Sudhir’s legal costs.

BoU /Crane Bank in Receivership had sued the property mogul and Meera Investments Limited for allegedly fleecing the defunct Crane Bank Limited (CBL) of Shs397 billion that the central bank wanted refunded.

Sudhir denied the allegation and has since counter-sued BoU, seeking compensation of $8m (Shs28 billion) in damages for breach of contract.

This Victory Is Not Just Yours, Lawyer Ssemakadde Congratulates Sudhir After BoU Withdrawals Crane Bank Appeal Case

This week, Bank of Uganda announced that it was withdrawing a Supreme Court appeal that was contesting the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the case it filed on behalf of Crane Bank Ltd (in Receivership) vs. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Ltd.

The withdrawal gave an unprecedented victory for businessman Dr Sudhir Ruparelia who because of now well-known unfair witch-hunt by Bank of Uganda lost his bank Crane Bank, injured his reputation and billions of money in lost revenue.

Reacting to the news, lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde congratulated the businessman for achieving a historic, hard-fought and well-deserved Supreme Court victory against the Bank of Uganda.

In a widely well received congratulated message, Ssemakadde said: “When no one dared to hold the shambolic & near-defunct Central Bank and it's corrupt and crooked lawyers to account, you risked all by bringing to them 'the mother of all battles’.

Adding: “You withstood insult and innuendoes, you ignored naysayers and doomsday prophets and you focused on the basic principles of law - and you have vindicated. This victory is not just yours,”

Ssemakadde, recently trending as the legal rebel, equated Sudhir’s fight with Bank of Uganda to that of the biblical David v Goliath. He explained that Sudhir’s win is ‘an emphatic call to action, for all the downtrodden and citizens of goodwill to muster courage and strike massive blows against all bullies in their respective spaces, in accordance with the law.’

“Your family and your businesses did not need this battle; you shouldered this burden for Uganda and especially the meek and less fortunate, for whom the protection of the law had become a myth,” he said before congratulating Rajiv Ruparelia, Sudhir's only son, for effectively coordinating this might pushback effort.

He also congratulated Sudhir’s legal  team at Kampala Associated Advocates for articulating the case from the High Court to the Supreme Court with sublime adroitness and dexterity.

Bank Of Uganda Withdraws Appeal Against Sudhir, Meera

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has withdrawn a Supreme Court appeal that was contesting the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the case it filed on behalf of Crane Bank Ltd (in Receivership) vs. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Ltd.

In a September 15 notice of withdrawal, the Supreme Court Registrar indicates that the central bank has decided not to prosecute the appeal and will pay costs.

The notice is signed by the central bank lawyers Messers Byamugisha & Co Advocates. On June 23, 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the Commercial Court in an application filed by BoU seeking a refund of UGX 397 billion from city tycoon which he allegedly pulled out from Crane Bank, before it was closed by the central bank in January 2016.

Justice David Wangutusi of Commercial Court in August 2019 dismissed the first case in which BoU claimed that Ruparelia and his Meera Investments Ltd fleeced his own Crane Bank Ltd (now in receivership) of UGX397 billion.

On Tuesday, June 30, the BoU had insisted that receivership does not take away the corporate personality of a company which includes the right to trace and recover assets and the right to sue for those assets.

In the preliminary stages of the appeal, the Supreme Court in August this year, dismissed with costs, an application by lawyers representing the Bank of Uganda (BoU) in which they sought to substitute the court record from Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) to Crane Bank Ltd (in Liquidation), with the court rejecting the move, as in bad faith and intended to circumvent facts.

Earlier in the High Court, Justice Wangutusi noted in his ruling that at the  time BoU and Crane Bank (in receivership) filed the suit against Mr Ruparelia and his Meera Investments in January 2017, Crane Bank was a non-existing entity, having been terminated when the Central Bank sold its assets to DFCU Bank in October 2016.

The judge ruled that this rendered Crane Bank in receivership incapable of suing or being sued since there would be no assets to be claimed for.

Court noted that the public notice made it clear that BoU as the receiver had done an evaluation of the respondent (Crane Bank in receivership) and arranged for the purchase of its assets and assumption of its liabilities by another financial institution.“

In his [BoU] notice, he specifically stated that the liabilities of the respondent had been transferred to DFCU Bank Ltd and that because DFCU Bank had taken over the liabilities, it would, by way of consideration, be paid by conveying to it the respondent’s assets,” the judge ruled.Bank of Uganda, through their new attorney Dr. Joseph Byamugisha of Byamugisha & Co Ltd the chose to file an appeal.


Former Simbamanyo Estates Owner Peter Kamya Loses Another Fraud Case

The former owner of Simbamanyo Estates, Peter Kamya has lost another fraud case in which he sold property in Munyonyo, took deposits and then sold the same property to a third party and refused to refund.

Bahamas Investment Ltd sued Peter Kamya for recovery of Shs 1.3 billion as money deposited to purchase property comprised in Kyadondo Block 255 Plots 126 and 213 in Munyonyo. Bahamas also claimed Shs 130 million being 10 percent of the deposit in event of default by Kamya.

Bahamas further sought general damages, interest and costs of the suit.

The background to the suit as discerned from the pleadings is that the Bahamas Investment Ltd, a dealer in real estate wanted to buy land. Peter Kamya being the proprietor of land comprised in Kyadondo agreed to sell to Bahamas.

The two agreed at a Shs 5,090,000,000 as the purchase price.

In the agreement which they reduced into writing, Bahamas was to pay Shs 1.3 billion on signing the agreement. The balance was to be paid within 30 days from the date of signing.

According to Bahamas, Kamya did not deposit the Certificate of Title with the Bank after paying Shs1,300,000,000. Furthermore, Bahamas Investment Ltd leant that one of the Certificates of Title had been deposited with the Court of Appeal by Kamaya as security for costs.

Bahamas also claim that Kamya attempted to sell the same properties to Bank of Uganda.

Bahamas alleges that it had approached Kamya with the balance of Shs3,790,000,000 on condition that he deposits the certificate of title with the bank or a neutral lawyer but he refused. This prompted Bahamas to terminate the sale in a letter dated October 20th 2016.

In his ruling, Justice David Wangutusi said the defendant (Peter Kamya) breached the agreement and ordered to pay 25 percent per annum interest on the Shs 1.3 billion from 10th October 2016 date of termination till payment in full.

The Justice also ordered Kamya to pay the costs of the suit and interest of 6 percent on general damages from date of judgment in full.

This also comes at a time when the former owner of Simbamanyo Estates lost an appeal in which he sought to recover a multi-billion 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 the city tycoon Peter Kamya and his Simbamanyo Estates failed to pay outstanding loans to a tune of $10.8m (about Shs40 billion).

Sudhir Ruparelia acquired the Simbamanyo House in October 2020 after emerging as the highest bidders with $5 million about (Shs18.5 billion) through his company Meera Investment Limited.

SOURCE: Eagle Online

Constitutional Court Pronounces Bank Of Uganda Can Be Sued Directly

The Constitutional Court has nullified sections 118 and 124 of the Financial Institutions Act that has been prohibiting Bank of Uganda and its employees from being sued directly, Watchdog News reports.

According to media reports, the sections were quashed by Justices; Muzamiru Kibeedi, Elizabeth Musoke, Egonda Ntende, Irene Mulyagonja and Cheborion Barishaki.

The five justices of Constitutional court in their ruling said it was unconstitutional for the Central Bank to hide under sections 118 and 124 to shield themselves from the law and yet under 21 of the same constitution, it gives powers of equal treatment before and under the law.

“This gives unjustified and arbitrary protection to the BoU, which is contrary to article 21 of the Constitution which provides that all persons are equal before and under the law in all sphere of political, economic, social and cultural life and every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law. Given that BoU’s directives to freeze a person’s account have a bearing on the constitutional right to property, it is vital in safeguarding those rights that the courts retain the powers to scrutinize the actions of Bank of Uganda on their merits. This will ensure, not only freezing orders are not unjustly made but also that the BoU’s receives equal treatment as other persons who in similar circumstances will be amenable to legal proceedings,” the judges said.

The landmark ruling arose out of constitutional petition No 50 of 2013 of Peter Ssajabi and Swift Commercial Establishment Limited versus Attorney General and Bank of Uganda.

The petitioners challenged the constitutionality of provisions in certain acts of parliament and hence seeking court’s interpretation of the constitution so as to determine whether certain acts were allegedly done by the respondents in contravention of the constitution.

The petition was brought in pursuant to articles 2,137 (1) (1) & (4) and 150 of the constitution and the constitutional court.

Ssajabi, the National Secretary East Africa Beneficiary Association was arrested during the investigation of the pension scam, that engulfed the Ministry of Public Service in 2012 and accused of working with a one Mr Ssentogo of Cairo Bank, to create accounts for more than 1,000 ghost pensioners and at some instance, allegedly changed account numbers and transferred some of the funds to his accounts.

His accounts were then promptly freezed by BOU and remain locked seven years later. However, the Constitutional Court had now reversed this action of the central bank.

Mr. Ssajabi joined EACBA in 1994 to help put pressure on government to pay pension and gratuity to former workers for the East African Community.

Ugandan Private Sector Warms Up To Relaxed Lockdown Measures

The headline Stanbic Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) moved back above the 50.0 mark in August, posting 50.2 from 34.6 in July.

Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration. 

The growth is attributed to the partial lifting of the 42-day COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda which helped spur a return to growth of both business activity and new orders in August, with companies confident of further growth over the coming year. 

Ronald Muyanja, the Head of Trading at Stanbic Bank Uganda said, “a return to growth in output and new orders recorded in August gives hope that as lockdown restrictions are eased further, that will spur growth in business activity in the coming months.” 

Cautious Optimism 

However, Muyanja calls for ‘cautious optimism’ noting that despite the growth seen in August, the PMI reading is still below the series’ average as businesses remain reluctant to raise staffing levels or input purchases. 

“Notably, the employment sub-index is yet to recover,” Muyanja said. 

The PMI notes that while demand is recovering, post the June lockdown, it remains weak, with little indication that capacity is under pressure. It is likely that stronger demand in coming months will also drive the recovery of the employment sub-index. 

Despite the lifting of the lockdown and renewed increases in output and new orders, companies continued to lower their staffing levels, purchasing activity and inventory holdings during the month. There was little sign of capacity coming under pressure as backlogs of work fell again. 

Focus on August

The August PMI report indicated a growth in both business activity and new orders following the loosening of some of the COVID-19 lockdown measures. 

It was a refreshing development that will buoy the market through September, following two successive months in lockdown which had caused reductions in output and new business. 

A look at sectors showed that construction was the only one to remain in contraction territory, with growth recorded elsewhere. 

Output prices decreased for the third month running, although some companies raised charges in line with higher input costs, others lowered selling prices as demand remained relatively soft.

The lifting of the lockdown is expected to lead to further growth in business activity over the coming year with more than 80% of respondents optimistic in the year ahead outlook. 

August also saw an overall rise in input prices following a reduction noted in July. This trend matched the picture seen for purchase costs where product shortages led to higher prices for a range of materials. But staff costs continued to fall. 

Sponsored by Stanbic Bank, the monthly PMI survey involving some 400 respondents is produced by IHS Markit and has been conducted since June 2016. It covers the agriculture, industry, construction, wholesale/retail, and services sectors. 

The headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) which provides an indication of operating conditions in Uganda.


It is a composite index, calculated as a weighted average of five individual sub-components: New Orders (30%), Output (25%), Employment (20%), Suppliers’ Delivery Times (15%) and Stocks of Purchases (10%).

I&M Group PLC Delivers 33% Profit After Tax Growth

Regional Financial Services Group, I&M Group PLC has announced an increase of 33% after tax profit for its 2021 half year financial results up from UGX 102.5 billion to UGX 134.6 billion.

The Group’s Total Assets recorded a growth of 12% to close at UGX 12.2 trillion up from UGX 10.9 trillion in June 2020 bolstered by expansion into Uganda and increased private and public sector lending. The acquisition of Orient Bank Ltd (OBL) in Uganda has expanded the Group’s balance sheet by UGX 753 billion as at the reporting date. 

Net interest income recorded strong growth of 28% to UGX 285.2 billion up from UGX 221.1 billion in June 2020 attributed to increased interest income from government securities. The Group’s total Non-Funded Income reduced by 6% to UGX 124.9 billion from UGX 134.6 billion.

Net non-performing loans reduced by 8% compared to June 2020, to close at UGX 240.3 billion attributed to strengthened remedial actions in improving the loan book quality.

Customer deposits recorded a 10% growth from UGX 8.09 trillion in June 2020 to UGX 8.87 trillion as at June 2021.

Commenting on the Group's financials, Mr. Daniel Ndonye, I&M Group PLC Chairman confirmed that the Group’s focus on increased lending to both the private and the public sector was key in determining the bank’s growth at a time when economies world over were hard hit by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is on the back of strong capital and liquidity base at group and country levels reported all well above regulatory minimums. At Group level, capital adequacy ratios closed at 21% at the same level as previous year, while liquidity ratio was 48% well above the statutory minimum of 20%.

The period under review saw the Group finalise the acquisition of a 90 percent shareholding in Uganda’s OBL. This is part of the Group’s broader regional expansion strategy to serve the needs of all customers at local and regional level, while promoting trade flows within the region.

 “We will continue to focus on our customers across all the banking segments through a series of products and innovations that are tailored to enhance customers banking experience across all our subsidiaries;” he added

Key to note, the Group, during the period under review, also rolled out, through its wholly owned subsidiary, I&M Capital Limited, a host of Wealth Management solutions.  This is expected to boost revenue diversification through provision of customized investment solutions, Asset Management, Retirement Income and Financial Planning for high network individuals.

Additionally, the Rwandan and Tanzanian subsidiaries launched Whatsapp banking, a key milestone in the Group’s digital transformation journey to provide customers with freedom of modern banking.

“We will also continue to invest and offer cutting edge technologically driven solutions to our customers and expand opportunities to attract more investors,” Mr. Daniel Ndonye concluded.

The Group’s Executive Director, Sarit Raja Shah underscored significant investment made during the first half of 2021. “Along with innovation of market driven solutions, we have also made significant investments in new systems across the Group in a bid to increase operational efficiencies and improve our customers’ banking experience.”

Further, the Group progressed on its strategic effort to create long-term value for stakeholders, through continued investments in Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives as a means to building resilience as well as to mitigate against emergent operational, cyber and credit risk. During the period under review, the Bank invested in a new Risk Management infrastructure for Anti-Money Laundering, Operational Risk and Fraud Management, as a key step in protecting its customers from the threat of financial crime on the Bank’s systems.

Through the I&M Foundation, the Group collaborated with like-minded organisations to drive its shared growth agenda in key thematic areas namely: Education and Skills development, Environmental Conservation, Economic Empowerment and Enabling Giving.

Key to note was that the Foundation partnered with the Kenya Community Development Foundation to drive environmental conservation initiatives spearheaded by the youth in Narok and Kilifi counties. The Foundation continues to support education scholarships for bright but financially constrained students at Strathmore University and the Palmhouse Foundation.  Additionally, the Foundation donated towards the Maa Trust’s Mau Bead-Work project, to cushion the Trust’s beneficiaries from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Group’s Rwanda and Mauritius entities received accolades during the period under review. I&M Bank (Rwanda) PLC was recognized as the best bank (2021) by Capital Finance International (, a print and online journal reporting on business, economics and finance. The Award recognized the Bank’s product offering, strategy, short-term and medium growth plans as well as client diversity. The Bank was also recognized for its technological innovations such as Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled ATMs with contactless technology enabling for operational efficiency and enhanced user experience. The Awards judges’ report also heralded the Bank’s growth strategy driven by a three pillar approach – driving business, building resilience, and optimizing the operating approach. In addition, the Mauritius joint venture, Bank One Limited, was awarded the Best Bank in International Banking Services and Best Custodian Bank, wherein the Bank was recognized for its role in supporting businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa based on its unique onshore and offshore capabilities.

COURT VICTORY: Tirupati Defeats Jay Patel In Controversial Jinja Land Case

The high court in Jinja City has ruled that property developer Tirupati Development Uganda Ltd are the rightful owners of a 13-acre piece of land situated on plot 24 Kyabazinga Way, in Jinja City.

In the court ruling, Tirupati Development defeated controversial deal maker Thummer Jay Maganlal Patel, the proprietor of Nile Agro Group of Companies who was falsely laying claim on the prime land using his corrupt connections within the leadership of Jinja Municipality, now a city. 

Evidence and testimonies presented in court overwhelmingly put victory into the hands of Tirupati Development owned by businessman Harshad Barot, a real estate mogul based in Kampala. 

On the disputed land, according to sources, Tirupati’s Barot plans to set up one of the biggest modern multi-billion shopping malls that will be the first of its kind outside Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Tirupati Development has over the years demonstrated that it has the capacity to take on multi-billion dollars projects in Kampala. 

The ruling now puts to end a long legal battle that has stalled the development of the said land. Tirupati Development now retains its 25 years lease it attained from Jinja Municipality, now a city.

The court battle had sucked in some of the leading political and business leaders in Jinja; many of whom appeared before presiding Judge, Lady Justice Jeanne Rwakakooko to be cross-examined and to testify. The majority exposed the corruption within the leadership of Jinja which dubious Patel has been using to enrich himself. 

During the recently concluded witness testimonies and cross-examinations, Tirupati Development lined up the Nalufenya B Village chairman, Nicolas Elwangu, outgoing Mayor Majid Batambuze, and former Jinja District Land Board Chairperson, Innocent Ndiko Ngobi who argued that the whole processes were “littered with irregularities and illegalities”.

The Tirupati – Patel land saga hit the headlines in 2019 when it became a subject of investigations by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters headed by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugeirere.

For more than 120 minutes in the witness dock, Ndiko who also appeared before the Commission described the Jinja Land Board as ‘problematic’, adding that minutes used in the allocation of land had numerous flaws making land transactions questionable.

The outgoing Jinja Mayor, Majid Batambuze testified against Patel maintaining that Tirupati Development which has several business outlets in Kampala still has a valid running sub-lease granted by the Council.

Batambuze told the Court that controversy broke out after a group of individuals acquired titles over the same piece of land in 2018, allegedly with consent from both Jinja Municipal Council and Jinja District Land Board.

Former Jinja West Member of Parliament Moses Grace Balyeku while appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into land matters in August 2019 claimed he had spent '2.4 Billion shillings to buy off interests' in the contested land.

He told the Commission that he bought the interests for him and his business associate  Thummar Jay Maganalal Patel to utilize for setting up a shopping mall, private university, and offices for rentals.

Balyeku said he ended up registering the land in Thummar Patel’s name to give the investor confidence after the cancellation of the 25 years lease of the first investor, Tirupati Development Uganda Limited by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in 2016. This, the Commission said, was wrong. 

Subscribe to this RSS feed