It was 6 years ago when the premises of a leading import and export company Equator International Distributors Limited at Tropical Complex Building off Kyagwe Road in the heart of Kampala were raided and closed with no proper documentation or legal instructions by a team purportedly from security, URA and UNBS.
The verbal baseless accusations they levelled against the company then the exclusive distributor of Nivea products in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and other countries in the region were that they had expired goods in its warehouse which was never the case.
“These baseless accusations were no solid ground for locking up our warehouses and to date, neither Uganda Revenue Authority nor Uganda National Bureau of Standards have ever come out with any official statement to substantiate or deny those claims besides compensating the businessman Chris Mutinye whose warehouse they locked up illegally and merchandise was lost. Over 3 billion shillings worth of stock was lost as a result” Juuko a former employee emphasized.
This has left the 100 or so former employees the company had at the time across the country and beyond in a dire situation as many of them have never gotten proper employment or an alternative income since their jobs were cut short abruptly.
“Many of our colleagues have never gotten anything to do, some are doing casual work while others are in the villages painfully trying to rebuild their lives with hardly any success,” says Philemon Ssentamu the group’s leader and former Executive Assistant to Mutinye.
It is for this reason we demand the authorities to come out clearly and let us know the fate of the company besides giving our boss a fair hearing and compensation for the merchandise and money he lost in this mess, he adds.
What really happened?
By the year 2014 Chris Mutinye’s company Equator International Distributors Limited was one of the leading taxpayers in the small and medium remitting an average of about one billion shillings a month to government coffers with a network of sales points across East Africa for leading cosmetics brand Nivea plus other consumer products including non-alcoholic drink Pure Heaven plus other cosmetics.
As a result, a number of unscrupulous business’ people decided to join his line of trade importing fake Nivea products from China, India and the United Arab Emirates which did not go down well with the company owner who was importing his products legitimately with all the proper licensing.
When Mutinye engaged Interpol and local authorities to deal with these counterfeits effectively, a combination of ‘mafia’ within security, UNBS and URA instead turned on him in collusion with his bankers who have been in the media recently over a landmark case. The bank gave away his private bank and account details to his tormentors who used it to make his life hell on earth.
According to Philemon Ssentamu his Executive Assistant, Chris Mutinye was illegally detained by unknown security agents who kidnapped him for 6 months and robbed him of 16 billion shillings in cash and another 12 billion shillings in the bank through this time as they tortured him mercilessly forcing him to sign his money away.
Luckily for Mutinye, he did not lose his life during these 6 months of illegal detention but his life has never been the same as he is still dealing with the side effects of this incarceration and trying to regain his footing in the business having lost a fortune is this saga.
Information reaching us is that Mutinye also survived two-staged accidents which are suspected to have been plotted by the same people one at Shoprite Lugogo and another in Ntinda.
It is as a result of this that his former employees Led by Ssentamu are calling on the police, judiciary, labour department, the office of the President and other relevant authorities to expedite justice for Mutinye, compensate him so that he can re-open his business and enable them to earn a decent living urgently given his company was a significant employer in the country and contributor to the National treasury.