Finance (423)

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.

Stanbic Bank Empowers Young Entrepreneurs Through The Schools' Challenge

By Michael Kanaabi

Even as the whole world came to a near standstill during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Stanbic Bank did not sit on its laurels and wait for what next but pushed ahead with its 5th annual National Schools Championship.

With the observance of all the Standard Operating Procedures as prescribed by the Ministry of Health strictly adhered to, an earnest search nationwide started for the most outstanding and gifted young entrepreneurs.

The championship kicked off with 100 schools- after a pre-selection analysis process, 4 schools were selected from each of the four regions to do presentations to the first time panel of 3 judges- a much more needed twist in the production from previous years, this particular change made the competition more lively, fun and engaging owing to the judges humour and in-depth understanding and connection to the business pitches.

Regional Winners

From the central region Nabisunsa Girls School came top with their Glow & Glam paper soap and disinfecting wipes, while Mpumuude Seed Secondary school represented Eastern region with their ingenious Reusable sanitary pads. Mentor SS represented the North and fronted Edutele-an E-learning teleconference application and Kyebambe girls school represented Western region, with their authentic miracle flavoured Ghee.

Enter the Finals

It was a charged and warm atmosphere in the Rwenzori ball room at the Sheraton Kampala as the grand finale went down. With all regional winners putting up their A-game to clinch the coveted national accolade.

The event was graced by Angel investors interested in ensuring these budding entrepreneurs got the investment to bring life to their ideas, the investors were Ronald Mukasa, Amos Wekesa of Great Lakes Safaris and Meralyn Mungereza country manager of the Agha-khan Foundation.

Making a cameo apperance, Reuben Gasansule an Investment Analyst, William Tendo an Edu-tech Consultant and dark horse Donald Wasake hia seasoned Business Consultant and Data analyst from research firm-Brothers Intelligence LLC completed the judging trio.

It was evident the chemistry and entertainment value they breathed into the show, especially each-time William and Donald Wasake went back and forth with their rants on anything and everything- a much needed comic relief from the somewhat tense and serious atmosphere of the finals.

The trio put the young entrepreneurs to task, asking all the right questions until they got the best out of them.

After all the numbers were crunched, parameters checked, and consultations done, the cumulative results from Audit firm PWC and Judges scoring unilaterally agreed that Mentor SS with their Edutele e-learning teleconferencing technology were worthy of the Stanbic National Schools championship crown 2020.

The gallant- fantastic four ladies of Nabisunsa came 2nd, while 3rd and 4th were Mpumuude Seed Secondary school and Kyebambe girls school, respectively.

The future of Uganda’s entrepreneurship class is surely being built and anchored through this competition which is part of Stanbic's Corporate Social Investments led by firebrand Barbara Kasekende and the Investors Club of Uganda.




Andrew Kasirye Records Statement At Police’s CID Over Shs1.6Bn Deal

These are hard times for city lawyer Andrew Kasirye who is being investigated for his alleged involvement in the mismanagement of monies involved in key cases in the judiciary process.

Reports are revealing that troubled lawyer Andrew Kasirye of Kasirye Byaruhanga advocates has quietly recorded a statement at the Criminal Investigations Directorate in relation to dubious Shs1.6bn compensation deal from the judiciary.

Command1Post quoting a source reports that Kasirye who appeared alongside Paul Luticua were grilled for several hours by D/ASP Opendi who recorded their statements.

After hours of intense grilling, the two were later released on police bond. Now the file will be sent to DPP for perusal and advice when investigations are done.

This follows after the Secretary to the Judiciary Pius Bugirimana invited the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate to inquire into payments totaling to Shs1.6bn in an alleged refund of security deposits by litigants, suspiciously passed through accounts of a private company.

In a letter to CID Director Grace Akullo, Mr. Bigirimana asked the CID to validate the source of the requisition for the said money in regard to the Commercial Court case of Kasekende Mujuzi & Others Vs Uganda Revenue Authority; and also wants investigators to probe a USD 48,294.26 payment to law firm M/s Kasirye, Byaruhanga and Company Advocates in the case of Entebbe Handling Services Vs Uganda Fish Packers Ltd.

As a result, the CID asked three senior court officials to help the police with investigations in regard to the payments for requests made for refund of security deposits by litigants.

The three are Chief Registrar Tom Chemutai and registrars Mary Ikit and Dr. Agnes Nkonge.

In a July 10, 2020 letter to Mr. Bigirimana, the Director for Police’s Criminal Investigations, Ms Grace Akullo indicates that the investigators want to find out the source of the transfer of over 1.6 billion from the judiciary accounts to M/s Heed Debt Recovery Service Ltd in Eco Bank.

Ms Akullo said that the money was transferred by Bank of Uganda to the said account and by the time the fraud was detected, the suspects had already withdrawn UGX. 200 million.

Earlier, Mr. Bigirimana had written Ms Akullo asking the CID to investigate the two payments to establish whether they were fraudulently requisitioned or are genuine saying he had been alerted by the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. Keith Muhakanizi about the possible fraudulent payments, the Judiciary PS indicated that the transaction was carried out on on recommendation of  Registrar of the Commercial Court, Dr. Agnes Nkonge who issued a court order directing the payment on June 4, 2020.

Mr.Bigirimana explained that the payment was again originated by a court order signed by Dr Nkonge and the requisition was originally made by His Worship Tom Chemutai (Acting Chief Registrar) and later by Ms Ikit on January 16 2020.

COVID19 Pandemic: Generous KISU Announces Half Bursaries

Kampala International School Uganda (KISU) is offering special bursaries to help parents afford the cost of their children’s education in a world incapacitated by the COVID19 pandemic.

Running under the 'educating today's children for tomorrow's world' tagline, KISU, which has learners from over 60 nationalities, has introduced a 50% bursary offer to new Ugandan students and legal residents.

KISU has taken to long-distance learning and online schooling following the closure of all educational institutions in Uganda by President Yoweri Museveni in March as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus in the country.

KISU has since invested heavily in delivering seamless education during the pandemic and is currently recruiting new students for the 2020-2021 academic year at all levels. Teachers are always on-site at the school campus in Bukoto to conduct online classes.

Recently, the ministry of education and sports provided guidelines to enable schools like KISU to offer online schooling.  Ever since then, learning institutions have embraced e-learning and are using various digital platforms to teach and examine their learners.   

How Attorney General Used His Office To Help Kasirye Acquire Firearm

Attorney General William Byaruhanga is on the spot for acquiring a firearm for his partner Andrew Kasirye at a time when the joint security committee had put to halt the issuance of arms to private individuals, Eagle Online reports.

According to police sources, Mr. Byaruhanga used his position as Attorney General to intimidate junior officers to have a gun licensed to Andrew Kasirye. In 2018, security issued a halt in licensing of firearms to private individuals after allegations that the rampant murders in the country were linked to the private firearms in the hands of individuals.

In April 2018, letter to Internal Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo titled recommendation for Andrew Kasirye to be granted a firearm license, the attorney general said.

“I have been requested by Mr. Kasirye for a recommendation for purposes of obtaining a firearm license under the Firearms Act 1970. He has informed me that the Luwero Industries Limited has offered for sale to him a new pistol NP349MM Serial No BO19885. A copy of the letter dated April 13, 2018is appended hereto for case reference”. Mr. Byaruhanga wrote.

He further added “Mr Kasirye has been practicing as an Advocate since April 16, 1986 and has since 1991 been my partner in the firm of Kasirye, Byaruhanga and Company Advocates. he was recently awarded the rank of Senior Counsel by the Law Council of Uganda. I am therefore, well qualified to attest that he is a citizen of good standing and indeed a fit and proper person to be issued  with a firearm license”.

However, Eagle Online reliably learnt whereas Byaruhanga was well qualified to recommend his colleague for the firearm, the time was suspicious given the ban on the issuance of guns.

It is also alleged that what prompted the questioning of this whole process was the saga recently that involved Mr. Byaruhanga and another top businessman over a land dispute along Entebbe Road. It is alleged the saga that degenerated into a personal fight saw guns drawn by one of the two.

Youth Group Launch Campaign Demanding To Expose Govt Corrupt Officials

The initiative by a coalition of several youth activist groups including The Uganda poor youth movement, Sauti ya Vijana, Red Top Brigade, Youth Power Research Uganda among others launched a public campaign dubbed #MyHandsAreClean, to highlight the dubious deals in government and all corrupt officials.

The campaign seeks to attract the attention of President Yoweri Museveni who they want to lead his administration and follow up on the Parliament’s Cosase report that was presented to the House in November 2019 recommending that the Central Bank officials involved in the sale of loan portfolios of the seven defunct banks be held liable and punished accordingly.

Zahid Ssempala, the coalition’s national coordinator. taking a cautious stand on the rampant corruption scandals in the country, said the campaign will expose and fight corruption so as to save tax payers’ monies and bring those involved in same to book.

“The youth activist forums have been taken aback by the rampant and increasing corruption scandals where the perpetrators have seemingly avoided being brought to book by use of their connections to the respective government offices which are meant to investigate and charge them or by virtue of being powerful and untouchables,” Ssempala told journalists in Kampala.

However, the group who also accuses the President of “shielding” the “corrupt” officials at Bank of Uganda even when the Cosase report pinned them on a number of wrongdoings, says the president is not doing much to fight corruption, alleging that some people is Museveni administration are trying to be above the law while people of Uganda are feeling “betrayed” in this “queer situation”.

“We as Youth Activists further wish to thank and recognize the institution of State House Anti-corruption Unit head by Lt. Co. Edith Nakalema for always heeding to their calls and following up on all cases of corruption as reported,” Ssempala said, asking president Museveni to not only come up with campaigns but also to act on corrupt before more investors run away.

“Youth Activists through their respective forums have on several occasions written to various offices in its bid to fight corruption but even these offices have instead smouldered the corrupt officials such as the office of the Inspector General of Government and the office of the Director Public Prosecution which have the mandate to follow up whistleblowers’ complaints and petitions but the same has been in vain.

“We on several occasions wrote about corruption scandals including but not limited to; the URA/AG 6 billion handshake saga, the illicit acquisition of wealth by Mrs. Justine Bagyenda, the wrongful sale, abuse of office and procedure and corruption by Bank of Uganda officials while selling off several commercial banks, the Bank of Uganda- Mpanga issue of payment of unwarranted legal fees, the failure of IGG to fulfill her mandate by shouldering corrupt officials, the blocking of criminal charges by the Director CID which explains why to date no criminal case has issued against the Bank of Uganda corrupt officials even when the whole country followed the COSASE proceedings and saw all the glaring evidence against the said officials. Surprisingly, only small fish like those involved in the siphoning of monies at the different Bank of Uganda branches were arrested in a bid to divert the nation from the bigger fish who have swindled billions and billions but still moving scot-free, said Mzee Julius Bwanika, the group’s publicity secretary.



Bigirimana, Kasirye, Attorney General In Multi-Billion Trouble

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has written to the Secretary to the Judiciary Pius Bigirimana seeking for an explanation in reference to the fraudulent transfer of Shs16,8171042/=, Command1Post reports.

The cash which was released by Bank of Uganda was deposited on the accounts of Ms Heed Debt Recovery Services Ltd through its account held in ECO Bank Rwenzori branch.

Pius Bigirimana is the chief accounting officer of the judiciary and is charged with signing for every single coin released by the institution. It remains unclear how the said billions were released to the fraudsters under his watch.

“The amount was transferred by Bank of Uganda to the said account and by the time the fraud was detected the suspects had already withdrawn Shs200,000,000/=,” the letter reads.

It adds "The purpose of this letter is to request you to provide; requisition with its attachment (if any) made to your office which led to the approval of the payment, payment request to Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and other documents, a list of officials who handled the process and any other document related to the case under investigation”

“You are also requested to make a statement in relation to the alleged fraudulent transfer,”

Ag Registrar High Court Ikit Mary wrote to Pius Bigirimana requesting for security deposit refund in the sum of Shs16,8171042/= vide Commercial Division HCC 08 of 2006 arising from tax appeals tribunal of Kampala Application number TAT 902 /2008 Kasekende Mujuzi and others Vs Uganda Revenue Authority

Mary Ikit noted that the above case was completed at commercial court and that court ordered for the refund.

“This is therefore to request you to authorize payment of shs 16, 8171042/= as security deposit for the above case to the detailed bank account”.

The account is in the names of Heed Recovery Services Ltd 7255001733 held in Eco bank Rwenzori branch.

Bigirimana in his letter to the Director Criminal Investigations also said that the money was paid on recommendations of Her Worship Dr Agnes Nkonge who issued a court order directing to pay the said money on June 2020. The requisition was originary made by H/W Chemtai Tom and later by Mary Ikit.

He also indicated that H/W Mary Ikit also made a requisition confirming that it was genuine.

Bigirimana also handed over payment evidence where Kasirye Byaruhanga and Co Advocates also bagged USD 48, 29426 about shs 17,806,068,439.27 in favor of Entebbe Handling Services.

Attorney General Byaruhanga is a partner in Kasirye, Byaruhanga Co. Advocates which received the money while Entebbe Handling services which manages Entebbe international airport is owned by one of the influential ministers from Greater Masaka region.

Bigirimana’s name featured prominently in the infamous OPM scandal where billions of money was stolen from the office of the prime minister. He was again the chief accounting officer of the said money.

After the money had been stolen, Bigirimana again blew a whistle on the now disgraced former OPM principal accountant, Geoffrey Kazinda, accusing him of orchestrating the scam and of poor work ethic

He claimed that Kazinda forged his signature to release the said money from bank of Uganda.

He was subsequently transferred to the ministry of labour, Gender and Social affairs and later to the ministry of justice.

SOURCE: Command1Post

DPP Starts Process To Prosecute Kasekende, Bagyenda, Sekabira

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ordered police to round up, question and search the homes of a city lawyer and two former officials and one current official of Bank of Uganda, Trumpet News reported on Friday.

The order by DPP brings a ray of hope to the owners of the defunct International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank whose properties were taken over and sold by Bank of Uganda, in a process that the Parliament of Uganda found to be flawed.

Under the case, with reference number Ref: HQS-CO-0191-2020, police and DPP are investigating circumstances under which certificates of titles belonging to former clients of the above three defunct banks ended up in the possession of a city lawyer, Mr. Kakembo Katende of M/S Kirkland Associates.

Odiit Andrew, the Senior Assistant DPP/Head, Land Crimes Department at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions named Dr. Louis Kasekende the former Deputy Governor; Mrs Justine Bagyenda, the former Executive Director, Commercial Bank Supervision; and Benedict Sekabira, the current Director Financial Markets Development as suspects.

The case was opened by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), on recommendation of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (PAC – COSASE) to investigate circumstances under which Mr. Kakembo came to be in possession of the land titles, yet they were to be in the possession of Nile River Acquisition Company Ltd (NRAC), the company incorporated by Octavian Advisors, the American company that originally bought the assets of the defunct banks. 

Shortly after acquiring the assets, NRAC appointed SIL Investments, a company incorporated a few weeks before the sale of the assets to manage the recovery process in Uganda.

Kakembo’s law firm, M/S Kirkland Associates was hired by Bank of Uganda to advise on the disposal of the assets. An investigation by this website later found a close link between NRAC, SIL Investments, the company appointed by NRAC to handle the sale in Uganda and Kirkland Associates.

It shall be remembered that one of the major issues probed by the MPs on COSASE, is why and how assets (loans) belonging to International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank Assets (loans) amounting to UGX 135 billion were sold to NRAC USD5.25m (Shs8.9bn), causing a loss of UGX126 billion, according to the Auditor General.

The sold assets included UGX34 bn of loans that had valid, legal and equitable mortgage supported by proper legal documentation. According to the AG, the UGX8.9bn sale price, represented 26% of the total secured loan portfolio and 7% of the total loan portfolio.

Writing to the Director of the CID, Odiit said that to fast-track the case amidst hostile suspects, some of whom were now on the run, it was important to secure a court order to round up the suspects, search their homes, obtain statements and retrieve the said titles.

“For meaningful inquiries to be carried out, there is need to ensure that the said certificates of title are recovered. We shall thus need the assistance of court through Court Orders to properly facilitate our inquiries.

These court orders may include criminal summons, warrants of arrest, search warrants etc., and yet these orders can only and properly be secured when we have a matter before court. Therefore, in the meantime we need to have a case registered in court for that purpose for now,” Odiit wrote.

“You are therefore directed to ensure that you prepare a charge sheet ready for court in respect to the offence of concealing a title deed C/S 278 of the Penal Code Act. There ought to be a count for each of the titled deeds we currently have and from the complainants so far.

The probable suspects include; Kakembo Katende and all his associates/partners trading as M/S Kirkland Associates, Nanyonga Evelyn and all her co-Directors in SIL Investment Ltd and the coordinators of the defunct commercial banks in liquidation, a one Ben Sekabira together with Polly K. Ndyarugahi his co-coordinator. Have all the suspects arrested and ‘arraigned in court,” Odiit instructed the CID.

“Record statements from the former Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda one Louis Kasekende and one Justine. Bagyenda (Mrs). Evidence on record indicates that they were as well involved in this saga,” Oddit further orders.

In an attempt to establish whether there was a link between Kasekende, Bagyenda and Sekabira, the DPP has also ordered that the CID obtains from the Ugandan Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) information about an American company called Octavian Advisors, which, through NRAC bought the said assets.

The DPP also wants police to “record a statement from the proprietor of SIL Investments Ltd in respect to its association with Octavian Advisors, Kirkland Associates, Ben Sekabira and other Bank of Uganda employees.”

SOURCE: Trumpet News

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