Finance (430)

MP Wants EOC Boss Investigated After She Abused & Insulted Court

In a strongly worded letter to the Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House, Kaluya Andrew, the member of parliament (MP) for Kigulu County South and also a Member of African Parliamentarians Against Corruption (APNAC) wants state agencies like police and State House Anti-corruption Unit to support the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)'s office expeditiously investigate Sylvia Ntambi Muwebwa, chairperson Equal Opportunities Commission ((EOC) and continued abuse of the court processes.

EOC’s Ntambi is facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the government of Uganda and neglect of duty leading to gross mismanagement of commission funds in the Anti-Corruption Court. She was summoned to appear before Her Worship Pamela Ocaya Lamunu, the Chief Magistrate, butt keeps dodging court giving peculiar excuses.

According to Kaluya’s letter written on 19th October 2020, on 22nd September 2020, Ntambi sent a lawyer from Kagwa & Kagwa Advocates claiming she was out of Kampala and requested to appear on 7th October 2020 to which the chief magistrate granted.

But still, she was a no show on 7th October 2020, instead, through her new lawyer, MacDusman Kabega, Ntambi tendered documents before the court claiming that she was admitted in Medik Hospital in Kawempe.

“Ntambi deceived court that she was suffering from chronic hypertension and that her condition required a major operation at Medik Hospital in Kawempe,” Kaluya notes in the letter to Nakalema.

It was however revealed in the media that Ntambi had never been admitted or scheduled for an operation at Medik Hospital. Days earlier, Her worship the chief magistrate had directed MacDusman Kabega to produce Ntambi in court on 29th October 2020 to take a plea or else be arrested forthwith.

“It has been widely observed that Ntambi Sylvia openly abused and insulted the courts of law. In fact, the chief magistrate tasked the DPP to investigate whether Ntambi was sick as alleged,” Kaluya said.

“We propose that concerned state agencies like police and state House Anti-corruption unit should support the DPP's office and expeditiously investigate this matter to enable the Chief Magistrate to make an informed decision. The video clip captured by investigative journalists at Medik Hospital in Kawempe gives a clue,”

“Consequently, the Directors of Medik Hospital must exhibit professionalism by openly telling Ugandans how the embattled chairperson of EOC acquired documents purportedly issued by the health facility. This needs to be urgently investigated and findings submitted to the court,” Kaluya concluded in the letter which he shared with different relevant agencies.

Have Proper Succession Plan For Your Family Business

Many times, businesses owned by families or transitioning into family businesses fail and die but with proper planning, this can be averted, Gideon Kirumira, the chairman of Trigger Enterprises Ltd said during a Webinar broadcast organized by Victoria University.

“If you are a leader who founded the family business and took it to a certain level, you need to create continuity to avoid the third generational curse. You need a succession plan by nurturing people who can take the business forward,” Kirumira, son to Godfrey Kirumira, a city businessman said.

The young Kirumira also said that a family business should cultivate a good relationship with employees who are not part of the family.

“We need to have proper appointments, even if it is a family business; let people with professionalism take over,” he advised, saying that favouring family members employed in the business demotivates non-family employee who may feel cheated and underlooked.

The Webinar that was hosted by Victoria University via its social media platforms Facebook and YouTube attracted seasoned entrepreneur Prof. Maggie Kigozi, lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, actress and model, now a farmer, Natasha Sinayobye and Gideon Kirumira under the theme ‘The Success and Failure of Family Business in Africa.’

In her speech, Prof. Maggie Kigozi, a director of Crown Beverages and farmer, noted that family businesses are like any other businesses, they sometimes fail but their success depends on the people running them. 

Commenting on the values that help family businesses survive from one generation to another, Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer and executive director of Chapter Four Uganda, said that such business setup should have what has been labelled as the 5Cs.

These are; continuity which means that business should make long term investment plans, set up businesses that serve the community needs, have a connection as family members running the business, have a proper chain of command and hierarchy and conservativeness which encourages frugal but careful spending.

Natasha Sinayobye, echoing what Gideon Kirumira said, believes that when a family business has a structure of succession and operations, work and sustainability of such a business is made easy. "In respecting the structure, there is order," she said.

Equity Bank Sells Simbamanyo House To Meera Investments

Meera Investments Limited, a company owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, has emerged as the best bidder and now becomes the owner of Simbamanyo House, the building that accommodates Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

The building, located at Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue, was auctioned by Equity Bank Uganda in an effort to recoup an unpaid loan amounting to about $8.1m from Simbamanyo Estates.

In a letter to tenants, Equity Bank announced the takeover and asked them to corporate with Meera Investment, the new landlord.

“We are writing to inform you that Equity Bank Uganda Limited, as mortgage, has completed the sale of 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. We trust you will accord the new owners all courtesy and all future rental payments and other tenant inquiries and obligation will be handled by Meer Investments Ltd or their agents," Equity Bank said in a notice.

Sam Kirubi, the managing director of Equity Bank, who signed of the notice, 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.

Meera Investments Limited was also immediately after the sale registered on the title of Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue. Johnson Bigiira, the senior registrar of titles in Ministry of Lands said Meera Investments Limited was registered on the title under Instrument Number KCCA 00074649.

Sudhir said that Meera Investment participated in the competitive bidding and his $5m was displayed as the best evaluated bid.

“Meera Investments Limited were the highest bidder for the auction from Equity Bank and acquired the property by the pay of $5m. We are ready to meet our new tenants and promise to cooperate with them,” Sudhir said.

Simbamanyo Estates is embroiled in a property dispute with Equity Bank Uganda and Equity Bank Kenya resulting from unpaid loans.

Documents in the Commercial Division of the High Court show that on August 20, 2012, Equity Bank entered into a financial transaction agreement that would lead the financial institution to release $6m to Simbamanyo Estates.

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.

Simbamanyo Estates which acquired the loan to finance the construction of Afrique Suites Hotel in Mutungo failed to meet its loan obligation leading to the situation at hand.

The total outstanding including interest and operational fees, among others, court documents show, would come to at least $8.10m.

Fred Muwema, the lawyer representing Simbamnayo Estate in this matter, said the matter is still in court and that there is caveat already on the property forbidding transfer until the case is heard and resolved.

“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 the hurry. This has happened before and we took it away from them. The bank should wait until the final decision on this matter is made.” Muwema said.

Uganda Bankers Association Protests Ham vs DTB Reckless Ruling

Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) has Thursday afternoon issued a statement protesting the judgment passed by High Court of Uganda (Commercial Division) subjecting Diamond Trust Bank to refund the money it got from Hamis Kiggundu estimated to be Shs120bn.

The panicky statement signed by Mathias Katamba, the association chairman and Wilbrod Humphreys Owor, the executive director said the judgement has sent shockwaves across the entire banking industry and related stakeholders.

The association brings together 35 financial institutions including all the Tier I Commercial Banks, the Development Banks and Tier II & III (Micro Finance & Deposit-taking Institutions) supervised by Bank of Uganda - the central bank.

The association said that the judgement puts a syndicated portfolio worth Shs5.6 trillion at risk. The running loan facilities are spread across various sectors including real estate, road construction, energy covering hydroelectric power, oil & gas and manufacturing among others.

The Shs5.6 trillion does not include pipeline transactions that were still being processed and have all been halted since judgement came out yesterday, the association said.

Also, the Shs5.6 trillion excludes syndicated lending to the government of Uganda who is the largest beneficiary of syndicated lending for various development programmes in the country.   

The association noted that the judgment sends a wrong message to “our international partner agencies and lenders’ and it gives Uganda a bad taste as ‘an investment destination’.

The judgement, the association is worried, sets a precedent for other ‘borrowers with foul intention’ to default basing on ‘this judgement that declared syndication illegal.’

Now, the association has announced that it will ‘join Diamond Trust Bank (Uganda) Limited in its appeal at the higher court to determine the case on its merits’ and to ‘file for a stay of execution of the orders of the Hon Justice as ruled.’

“DTB, in consultation with its legal advisers, said it had 'filed a notice of appeal against the judgment of Justice Henry Peter Adonyo' and was looking 'forward to the expeditious resolution of the matter in the Court of Appeal' and was 'confident that the case will be determined on its merits.'

The association is also calling on the Central Bank of Uganda the Executive Arm of Uganda Government through the Minister for Finance, Planning & Economic Development and the Attorney General to pronounce itself on this matter.

It said these are the accountable officers for syndicated facilities contracted by Government including where foreign counterparties are involved and reassure the financial sector, the international lending partners and the entire country of the commitment to continue honouring all debt obligations in line with agreed protocols.

It also rallied ‘friends and stakeholders’ in the private sector, the legal profession, civil society, regulatory bodies and professional bodies to team up in addressing the implications of this reckless judgement.

The association in a message to ‘our esteemed good borrowers & all customers’ said they should ‘remain calm as appropriate action is undertaken to address the challenges arising from this specific judgement.’

World Bank Confirms Economic Downturn In Sub-Saharan Africa

Driven by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to fall to -3.3 percent in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years, according to the latest regional economic analysis Africa’s Pulse: Charting the Road to Recovery. The pandemic could also drive up to 40 million people into extreme poverty in Africa in 2020, erasing at least five years of progress in fighting poverty. 
With over a million reported COVID cases across the continent, the pandemic is still not under control in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some governments, notably Senegal and Mauritius, have acted rapidly to reduce the spread of infections; however successful containment measures come with a high economic cost, as has been seen across the globe. 
“The road to recovery may be long, and it may be steep, but prioritizing policy actions and investments that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs will pave the way for a faster, stronger and inclusive recovery for African countries,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa regions. 
Nigeria’s real GDP contracted by 6.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020—the worst result in more than a decade. South Africa, operating under severe containment measures, saw its real GDP contract by 17.1 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020. Angola, Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria, saw its economy contract by 1.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020.  
The decline in growth has been stronger among metals exporters where real GDP is expected to contract by six percent, partly reflecting the large drop in output in South Africa. Among oil exporters, after expanding by 1.5 percent in 2019, real GDP is projected to fall by more than four percent in 2020, owing to contractions in Angola and Nigeria.  
In contrast, for non-resource-intensive countries, the decline in growth in 2020 is expected to be moderate, on average. In several non-resource-intensive countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Kenya, growth is expected to slow substantially, but remain positive, owing to their more diversified economies. Meanwhile, the tourism-dependent economies, especially those of Cabo Verde, Mauritius and the Seychelles, experienced a sharp contraction as exceptionally weak international tourism severely impacted the service sector. 
The substantial downturn in economic activity will cost the region at least $115 million in output losses this year. Gross domestic product per capita growth is expected to contract by nearly 6.0 percent, in part caused by lower domestic consumption and investment brought on by containment measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  
“Although the pandemic is not over and the persistence and spread of the virus is uncertain, African governments have started putting in place policies and programs to support an inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic recovery,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa. “Countries are putting in place policies and programs that help create jobs and accelerate economic transformation to reduce the economic impact of the pandemic now, and build the capabilities needed to ensure inclusive economic growth in the future.”  
Africa’s Pulse notes that the road to recovery will also require massive investments across countries, as well as financial support from the international community, and recommends a bold reform agenda that includes policies that create fiscal space, along with policies to speed up job creation.
Several countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, have already begun implementing long-needed reforms in energy and telecommunications spurred by the current crisis, and 25 percent of African firms have accelerated the use of digital technology and increased investments in digital solutions.
By mid-September, 46 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa had put in place 166 social protection measures —with social assistance representing 84 percent of these measures. Social protection programs have proven to be a critical tool to mitigate the social impact of the pandemic. 
“As COVID-19 continues to put substantial pressure on Western and Central African economies, it is important for policymakers to create the infrastructure necessary for rapid recovery,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa. “Strong policies create the critical cornerstone for sustained, inclusive recovery and improved resilience to shocks.” 
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.
We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans. 

DTB Appeals Shs120bn Case Against Hamis Kiggundu

Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), a regional banker, has run to the Court of Appeal to challenge a ruling by High Court in the case against Hamis Kiggundu, the proprietor of Ham Enterprises and Kiggs International. 

Kiggundu alleged that the bank fraudulently withdrew Shs120bn from Ham Enterprises and Kiggs International accounts in an attempt to recover a loan it had acquired from the bank. 

Justice Henry Peter Adonyo of the High Court ruled that it was illegal for Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Kenya to do business (offer loan facilities) with Ham Enterprises through Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda.  

"The act of DTB-Kenya in conducting financial business is licensed in Kenya and it therefore illegally offered the facilities in Uganda. Consequently, this application is allowed with costs," Adonyo ruled. 

But an uncontented Diamond Trust Bank has chosen to pursue the matter further by going to the Court of Appeal. “Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has noted with concern the judgment on October 7, 2020, by the High Court in the case between the bank and Ham Enterprises Limited,” it said in a public notice.

“DTB, in consultation with its legal advisers, has filed a notice of appeal against the judgment of Justice Henry Peter Adonyo.”

“We look forward to the expeditious resolution of the matter in the Court of Appeal and are confident that the case will be determined on its merits.”

“We wish to assure all our stakeholders that we remain in good standing and our operations continue uninterrupted.”  

Diamond Trust Bank Said To Be Threatening Witnesses In Shs120Bn Fraud Case

Witnesses in the court case raging on between Diamond Trust Bank and Ham Enterprises Ltd are reportedly being threatened by the commercial bank with intent to stop them from testifying and providing pinning evidence that will sink them.

The said witnesses, many of them former and current employees of the bank, according to media reports, are being threatened with dismissal from work and lawsuits if they go ahead and reveal the manners in which the bank ‘steals’ from customers.

Early this year, Ham Enterprises took the bank to the commercial division of the high court in Kampala alleging that the bank was irregularly and illegal siphoning money from dollar and shillings accounts it held with the bank to recover a loan.

Ham Enterprises in papers filed at court early this year said he had lost Shs100bn (which has since increased to Shs120bn, including interest being accrued) without their authorization. This case would kickstart a call for the reformation of the banking sector by Ham Kiggundu, the proprietor of Ham Enterprises.

The suit by Ham Enterprises brought to earth what has been referred to as ‘unfair treatment of customers by commercial banks’ to life. At DTB, similar distraught customers accused them of mishandling their hefty loans leading them to lose loads of money; and now former and current employees are willing to spill the beans.

The bank is reportedly doing all it can to prevent their own people from testifying in court. To achieve this, the bank is threatening them; some sections of the media have reported that these witnesses are living ‘in total fear for their lives’.

Some of the DTB staff members said to be ready to testify in court include Tamale Richard (officer operation, IDB), Assimwe Shirley (credit administration), Namugga Anati Kayita (credit administration) and Clayton Lakony Omona (head of security, fraud, prevention and forensic investigations).

On Monday 5th October 2020, the trial judge, Henry Peter Adonyo is set to give his ruling on the dismissal of DTB’s defence. This ruling will have a big impact on the main suit and for that matter, both sides are doing all they can to minimize the risks that can jeopardize their submissions.

Pan-African Private Sector Trade & Investment Committee Challenges WTO

Following a meeting convened by the Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (PAFTRAC) and hosted by the Afreximbank, a communiqué addressed to members of the WTO and the eight candidates who have been shortlisted as the institution's next Director General was released on Thursday calling for a wide range of reforms.

The communiqué was formulated following numerous consultations with PAFTRAC members, its institutional partners, and through a comprehensive survey of the African private sector. Within it, the Committee have highlighted a number of recommendations to ensure the institution is more effective in growing global trade but doing so in a manner that is fair to all.

The communiqué stated that "ignoring the voice of Africa and other emerging economies will have dramatic consequences for and undermine the relevance of the WTO and the rules-based system at a time when multilateralism is already under threat."

In the opening remarks at the meeting, the President of the Afreximbank stated that "Africa has played an important but largely under-valued role in the global economy." He cited that Africa's global share of trade has fallen from 4.4% in 1970 to 2.5% today, whilst the share of Asia has risen from 7.7% to 20% over that same period.

"Whilst this is the result of numerous factors, including fragmented markets and persistent supply-side constraints," he said, "tariff escalations and stringent standards on final goods in developed economies have limited Africa's potential to move up value chains."

The communiqué called for the WTO to ensure "that development issues are front and centre of its reform agenda." They specifically called for African countries to be afforded Special and Differential Treatment that will allow flexibilities and sufficient policy space to support local industries and advance development. The African private sector also emphasised the importance of addressing subsidises and state-aid in developed economies which continue to confine Africa to the bottom of global value chains.

With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) coming into effect in 2021, they also requested that African integration under the AfCFTA and the establishment of an African Common Market is not undermined by multilateral negotiations.

The organisers called for the voice of the African private sector be "heard and considered under the multilateral framework," so that the private sector can not only compete fairly but also grow. Trade, they said, is vital to generate the volume and quality of jobs required to absorb over 17 million young Africans who are entering the labour market every year.

Sudhir Ruparelia Sues Lawyer Karamagi For Defamation

Businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has sued lawyer Andrew Karamagi for defamation, a lawsuit filed by the Ruparelia Group Chairman in the Civil Division of High Court indicates.

Karamagi, a vocal human rights activist, posted the defamatory statements that have landed him in trouble on his social media pages.

Through his lawyers of Galisonga and Company Advocates, Sudhir says Karamagi’s statements followed the laying down of tools of Sanyu FM staff protesting a 25 percent salary cut due to the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Karamagi published a long missive on his Facebook wall indicating that the businessman is one of Uganda’s small groups of individuals holding power in organized crimes, going ahead to say that, “Sudhir’s reputation for unethical and unconscionable business practices needs no elaboration.”

Sudhir says Karamagi’s post imputed that he is a criminal, unreasonable businessman or business partner, a great liar and a man not worthy any trust.

“The plaintiff’s personal, diplomatic, social and business reputation had been seriously damaged and he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment including numerous calls from family, colleagues, friends and peers and other concerned persons over the same post publicized by the defendant/Karamagi”, reads the suit.

COVID19: New Tenants To Get 3 Rent-Free Months

As traders are struggling to bounce back from the gallows of COVID19 pandemic, landlords are giving them offers that will facilitator them to do business in a sustainable manner.

In that spirit, Crane Management Services, the real estate and property management agency at Ruparelia Group, has announced that it will offer new tenants 3 Rent-Free Months.

The offer is for Hardware City on Entebbe Road, Hardware Plaza near Nakasero Market, Market Plaza located at Market Street in Kampala and Electrical Plaza located along Market Street in Nakasero.

However Crane Management Services managers said the offer doesn’t apply for apartments on these buildings. Only shop and office space qualify for this offer.

Hardware Plaza opened in 2016 sits on about 27000 square meters of prime land, has 281 shops and 66 residential apartments, Electrical Plaza has 220 shops, 56 apartments and two floors of parking, Market Plaza has 250shops and 110 offices with a wide packing to accommodate over 100 cars.

Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Crane Management Services Limited said they are offering city traders three rent-free months such that they can have a chance to operate their businesses without any encumbrances or stress about rent.

This offer comes at a time when traders in Kampala are having a push and pull relationship with their landlords over rent arrears. After almost five months under COVID19 lockdown, many traders are short of money to afford the rent bill.

Therefore, discounts and offers as such that Crane Management Services if offering comes handy for both the landlord and tenant. While the tenant wants a place to put his or her business, the landlord also is in need of tenants.

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