Meera Investments Sues FBW Over Failed Kabira Country Club Contract

Architectural firm FBW (U) Ltd and its two directors Nigel J. Tilling, and Paul Moores have been sued by Meera Investments Limited for breaching a $3m Kabira Country Club extension contract.

In September last year, Meera Investments, a subsidiary of Ruparelia Group, a conglomerate owned by businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, sought legal redress after dragging FBW, a UK based consultancy firm, to police accusing it of contract breach.

The suit actioned by Ssemambo & Ssemambo Advocates and Magna Advocates by has been filed before the Commercial Division of the High Court and the defendants have been given two weeks to file their defence.

According to Eagle Online, FBW entered into a contract with Meera on 6th February 2012 for both Speke Apartments Wampewo and Kabira Country Club extension with the scope of work including design development encompassing architectural, structural engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, other civil services, design team coordination, construction supervision and incidental services.

Meera went ahead and made payments in instalments stipulated in the contract and it was agreed that the Kabira expansion project is stayed until the completion of Speke Apartments Wampewo. In October 2018, the parties mutually agreed to resume the implementation of Kabira’s expansion project.

FBW and its directors undertook to complete full construction drawings before the end of December 2018 with construction scheduled to start in January 2019. By this time FBW had already received three instalments which covered work up to the submission of construction drawings package.

However, in contravention of the contract, FBW demanded more money totalling to $75,000 (20%) which they were supposed to receive when construction had commenced. Meera who urgently needed construction to commence made the payments and FBW to their surprise demanded more money in November 2018.

Meera in dire need of the project to commence made another $37,500 payment which was supposed to be the fifth installment, also supposed to be an in-between construction payment, long after the drawings should have been submitted.  

Meera requested for the architectural drawings but to their shock, FBW demanded a sixth installment which was supposed to be paid on completion of construction of the shell structure. On insistence, FBW only handed over PDF format which was neither adjustable nor usable and they didn’t include the CAD files of the construction drawings.

As a result, Meera hired other professionals to complete the work so that their building could meet the 36 months schedule to completion. Meera engaged the architectural services of M/S Design 256 Ltd at a cost of $65,000, engineering firm Constulka Services for final construction drawings plus CAD files at $55,000 and a mechanical and electrical engineer James Bakyaawa Ssozi of Chase Consults Ltd to convert PDF drawings to Auto-CAD on A1 and a payment of $16,000 was made.

Meera now wants the court to compel FBW plus Tiling and Moores to refund $132,750 being money received to the plaintiff’s use by the defendants, plus special damages of $286,739 arising out of defendants’ breach of contract and general damages inclusive of $2,672,579 as income Kabira will miss because the project will be delayed for six months arising from FBW’s breach of contract.

Meera also wants the court to compel FBW to pay an interest rate of 25 per cent per annum until the money is paid in full and costs of the suit.

Bugoma Forest: Detained Journalists Get Police Bond

By George Busiinge

The two journalists arrested on allegations of plotting an unlawful protest against the move to degrade a forested land believed to be part of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve (CFR) have been released on police bond after spending two nights in Hoima Central Police custody.

The environmental journalists; Mr Venix Watebawa and Mr Joshua Mutale subscribing to Water and Environment Media Network (WEMNET) were arrested on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at around 8pm some few minutes after arriving in Hoima City.

Bugoma forest land dispute between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the National Forest Authority (NFA) is now pending the Court of Appeal decision.

This is after NFA lost twice on its suit challenging the transaction for the 22-square-mile piece of land between Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and Hoima Sugar Limited.

NFA claims that Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leased to Hoima Sugar Ltd part of Bugoma CFR which is a nationally recognised government conservation area in public interest.

The Shs3.9b approximately US$1m- transaction was made in 2016 when the kingdom leased the land to Hoima Sugar Ltd for 99 years in favour of sugarcane growing.

Bugoma forest in Kyangwali sub-county, in the current Kikuube district was gazetted in 1932. It is one of the major conservation areas in Uganda that stand to be relied on for wildlife which is one of the major tourist attractions.

Tourism is the leading foreign exchange income earner for Uganda.

Forestry is one of the major determinants of climate change since natural forests have a high capacity to absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Ecologists argue that Bugoma forest is also so important at this time when it is most wanted given the planned construction of an oil refinery in Hoima that will emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere requiring to be absorbed lest it harm people and fauna in the sphere of coverage.

They say the forest will be a good carbon absorber tapping the poisonous gas plummeting from the atmosphere once the oil refinery becomes operational.

CSOs Demand For Release Of Save Bugoma Forest Campaigners

Civil society actors and tourism operators working under the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBC) to stop illegal sugarcane growing and oil activities in Bugoma forest and the ecosystems around the forest are demanding for an immediate release of nine of their members who were arrested by police in Hoima district.

“Our members travelled to Hoima to participate in a peaceful demonstration aimed at stopping the destruction of Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing and to stop the risks of oil activities to critical biodiversity resources.

Two of our group members were arrested on their way to a radio talk show at Spice FM in Hoima. The two were set to discuss the risks and dangers of destroying Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing and allowing oil activities in critical biodiversity areas including rivers, lakes, national parks, forests, wetlands and others.

The talk show was also aimed at providing information on the planned peaceful protests where the civil society leaders were supposed to walk from Hoima and Kikuube districts to Bugoma forest reserve to address a press conference,” Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of AFIEGO and a member of SBC, says.

It is notable that the planned protest was aimed at expressing displeasure with government agencies that have connived to give away Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing.

It was also to expose how the rush for oil exploitation has attracted dubious companies that are conniving with government to conduct illegal and irregular Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA), issue ESIA certificates of approval, proceed with illegal activities in forests, national parks, rivers, lakes, wetlands and others without complete and approved mitigation plans. These illegal and irregular activities are leading to the destruction of forests, waterfalls, national parks and other natural iconic futures.

Mr. Kamugisha adds, “In addition to the two who were arrested while on their way to the radio talk show, seven other SBC members and partners were also arrested. The seven were arrested at Hoima police station while trying to negotiate the release of the two who spent the night in the police cells.”

The arrested include AFIEGO's Sandra Atusinguza, journalists Venex Watebawa, Joshua Mutale, Sam Kayiwa and activists Vincent Sekitto, Joseph Mujuni, Ismail Kashokwa, John Kibego all of Save Bugoma Forest Campaign and Moses Mukiibi of Oil Refinery Residents Association.

“We are demanding for the immediate release of our campaigners from illegal detention. They were engaged in efforts to uphold Ugandans’ constitutional right to live in a clean and healthy environment. The Constitution, National Environment Act of 2019 and other laws empower Ugandans to defend the above right and police should not deter Ugandans, including our campaigners, from defending Ugandans’ environmental and other rights,” Mr. Kamugisha says.

Kabira Country Club Continues To Shine With Tranquillity, True African Style

In the midst of global uncertainty due to COVID19 pandemic, Kabira Country Club has used the force lull in the hospitality industry to be innovative and creative in the products they offer to their clients.

Located in posh Bukoto area, Kabira Country Club suites are the addition to the wide range of accommodation services. And the hotel is encouraging its clients to make ‘Kabira Country Club Suites your Home Base.’

The suites are a true description of absolute tranquillity and they give you a feel of African beauty and style. In its true nature, the hotel is committed to keeping a clean and hygienic environment.

“You have not lived until you've experienced a proper night's sleep at The Kabira Country Club Suites. Extra length beds, percale linen, streamlined down duvets, block out curtains and all,” a manager said of what they are offering.

Adding: “Because in your dreams every detail matter. We are now offering special discounted packages for all your scientific events like Weddings, Engagement parties among others,”

The Pub Bar, the hotel’s flagship bar has been renovated and redecorated to give it a new feel and touch. This means that you don’t have to get out of the hotel to enjoy a drink with family and friends.

The Pub Bar serves alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, liquor, cocktail and other beverages such as mineral water and soft drinks.

As a hotel, Kabira Country Club, a full-service hotel, offers elegance and comfort in a relaxed atmosphere in Kampala.

With stunning views of the greater Kampala cityscape, Kabira Country Club has a  world-class restaurant, gymnasium, accommodation,  swimming pool and assortment of indoor sports facilities.

In the midst of global uncertainty due to COVID19 pandemic, Kabira Country Club has used the force lull in the hospitality industry to be innovative and creative in the products they offer to their clients.

Located in posh Bukoto area, Kabira Country Club suites are the addition to the wide range of accommodation services. And the hotel is encouraging its clients to make ‘Kabira Country Club Suites your Home Base.’

The suites are a true description of absolute tranquillity and they give you a feel of African beauty and style. In its true nature, the hotel is committed to keeping a clean and hygienic environment.

“You have not lived until you've experienced a proper night's sleep at The Kabira Country Club Suites. Extra length beds, percale linen, streamlined down duvets, block out curtains and all,” a manager said of what they are offering.

Adding: “Because in your dreams every detail matter. We are now offering special discounted packages for all your scientific events like Weddings, Engagement parties among others,”

The Pub Bar, the hotel’s flagship bar has been renovated and redecorated to give it a new feel and touch. This means that you don’t have to get out of the hotel to enjoy a drink with family and friends.

The Pub Bar serves alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, liquor, cocktail and other beverages such as mineral water and soft drinks.

As a hotel, Kabira Country Club, a full-service hotel, offers elegance and comfort in a relaxed atmosphere in Kampala.

With stunning views of the greater Kampala cityscape, Kabira Country Club has a  world-class restaurant, gymnasium, accommodation,  swimming pool and assortment of indoor sports facilities.

La Cabana Returns With Sunday Kuku Roast

Sundays are easy days and good food completes a splendid feel of life’s little pleasures. Sunday is also made memorable by giving your family a gift of a lavish outing. These are things loved one never forget.

And this Sunday, and the Sunday’s to come in the near future, you can bring your family together at La Cabana Restaurant and enjoy the Sunday Kuku Roast; an assortment of whole chicken (kuku) salad, chips, mashed potato served with sangria.

Iqramullah Liagath Ali, the Food and Beverage Manager at La Cabana Restaurant revealed that they have cut the prices for the Sunday Roast to afford customers relish the most delicious kuku & sangrias.

“For Shs99,000, get a whole roasted kuku plus a pitcher of sangria & for Shs59,000, get a half-roasted kuku plus a glass of sangria each served with salad, chips & mashed potato,” Liagath said.

La Cabana Restaurant, situated at Speke Apartments on Wampewo Avenue in Kampala, last month won the Travelers’ Choice Award for 2020 for its good performance in the year 2019.

The awards celebrate travelers’ favorite hotels, restaurants and airlines around the world. 4,817 unique businesses have been honored this year. Over 8.7 million businesses are listed on Tripadvisor.

Forest Cottages Unveils New Rates To Serve Customers Better

Service providers in the tourism sectors are each day pondering how to stay afloat in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. For positive results, many are coming up with special rates to appeal to a domestic market which had been outpriced by the hospitality industry.

Forest Cottages in Naguru, a member of Speke Group of Hotels, has announced unbeatable offers in an attempt to serve their clients affordably and sufficiently.

Forest Cottages, which are located in a serene and secure suburb of Kampala city, is offering discounted prices on single deluxe rooms, apartments and luxurious suites.

You can also exclusively book the entire hotel for scientific parties, occupancy and other uses for a paltry Shs5M a day. Forest Cottages boasts of 27 rooms, and cottages, nice gardens, swimming pool, four (4) conference halls, restaurant and bar and terraces.

The Shs5m a day offer will get you bed and breakfast; but for Shs7m a day offer can get you bed, breakfast and dinner for a maximum of 30 people. This offer is on till 30th September 2020.

Forest Cottages is a brilliantly designed luxury cottages nestled within a peaceful African forest setting in the heart of Uganda’s capital Kampala.

While at Forest Cottages, you can feel the touch of nature while enjoying the comfort of modern conveniences like, internet, telephone, television and locally made furniture.

Selectively planted smaller trees, bushes, shrubs and flowers make Forest Cottages an inspiring destination for nature lovers and eco-tourists alike.

Speke Resort Nominated In World Luxury Hotel Awards

Speke Resort and Conference Centre, fresh from winning the travellers' choice winner’s award at the 18th annual Travelers’ Choice Awards organized by TripAdvisor, has yet again been nominated in this year's World Luxury Hotel Awards.

Speke Resort was last year named the best lakeside luxury resort in Africa at the 2019 World Luxury Hotels Awards which were announced on October 12th at the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel in Finland.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have been nominated for the World Luxury Hotel Awards. Thank you for your support throughout all these years!” Speke Resort, which is part of the larger Speke Group of Hotels said in a brief message on their social media pages.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards, established in 2006, celebrate achievements in the luxury hotel industry offering international recognition as voted by guests, travellers and industry players alike.

Over 300 000 international travellers nominate and vote each year for their favourite hotels, during a four-week period to select the winners. The Awards have over 100 categories with 2000 hotels profiled and nominated.

Speke Resort located in Munyonyo, a posh suburb in Uganda’s capital Kampala, offers the best in luxury accommodation, dining and cuisines, leisure activities like horse riding and swimming, meetings and conferences, wellness facilities like the gym and events planning like weddings.

TripAdvisor Awards ‘Best of the Best’ Speke Resort Munyonyo

The year 2020 could be battering the tourism and hospitality sectors world over but 2019 was a good year for Speke Resort and Conference Centre if the recognition from TripAdvisor, the leading travel agency, is anything to go by.

TripAdvisor, Inc., an American travel and restaurant website company providing hotel and restaurant reviews, accommodation bookings and other travel-related content, recognized Speke Resort with a travellers' choice winner’s award at the 18th annual Travelers’ Choice Awards.

“Congratulation Speke Resort and Conference Centre on being a Travellers' Choice Winner. Each year, we comb through reviews, ratings and saves from travellers everywhere, and use that info to award the very best.

You are part of an exclusive group, and we want to help you celebrate (and promote) this major accomplishment,” TripAdvisor said of the brand empowering win by Speke Resort, a member of the Ruparelia Group.

Announcing the good news on their social media pages, Speke Resort briefly wrote: “We are the 2020 travellers' choice winner. Thanks to all our esteemed customers for being part of the journey,”

Speke Resort and their sister hotel Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort have in the past years won similar awards from TripAdvisor. In 2018, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort scooped Certificate of Excellence award from the American travel agency, TripAdvisor.

Lindsay Nelson, chief experience and brand officer at Tripadvisor, commenting on the awards described 2020 as a tough year for the tourism and hospitality industry before noting that the global desire to go and explore exists 'whether the destination is an hour away or across the world, remains strong.'

"We’re passionate about guiding travellers to the good out there, especially the good found within these recognized hotels, restaurants and airlines that rise to the occasion in offering the best of the best,” said Lindsay Nelson.

TripAdvisor picked the 2020 winners basing on the quality and quantity of the millions of reviews, opinions and ratings collected on Tripadvisor in the year 2019.

The awards celebrate travellers’ favourite hotels, restaurants and airlines around the world. 4,817 unique businesses have been honoured this year. Over 8.7 million businesses are listed on Tripadvisor.

Save Forests & Wetlands To Avoid Human-Animal Conflicts

By Paul Kato

For over three years, the media has been reporting about the massive destruction of forests and wetlands in several parts of the country. Bunyoro sub-region has greatly been affected by this environmentally dangerous practice.

Because of the massive destruction of wild animal habitat areas by residents, there has been an increased rate of human-animal conflicts in the districts that make up Bunyoro sub-region - Kikuube, Hoima, Kagadi, Kakumiro and Kibale.

Unfortunately, residents, investors and government agencies and officials prefer to use animal habitant areas for economic activities like agriculture, charcoal burning, lumbering, sugar cane growing by Hoima Sugar company and oil and gas activities.

The massive destruction of forests and wetlands have led to the migration of wild animals like chimpanzees from their natural habitats. This has created a big competition for land space and food.

Also, many people, especially the vulnerable children between one year to four, have been attacked and injured by these animals; many have lost their lives.

It should be noted that the continuous massive destroying of the forests and wetlands is going to contribute to a big number of people and children being injured and killed by the wild animals.

Worthy to note is that this massive destruction of our natural forests and wetlands is going to result in a prolonged drought, floods, reduction of foreign exchange and climatic change among others.

Therefore, the forests and wetlands need to be protected and conserved by all stakeholders to avoid human-animal conflicts, climatic change and negative impacts on the people’s livelihoods.

Research shows that in Bunyoro region, 20 children have already been attacked and injured by wild animals, at list five have died because of ongoing human-animal conflicts.

Therefore, I call upon all the local leaders right from the grass root levels to the national level to carry out massive sensitization among the local communities, National Environment Management Authority, National Forestry Authority and Environmental Police to put in place new laws that are going to protect forests. People lack information about the importance of forests.

Paul Kato is a research associate at African Institute for Energy Governance  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Climate Financing By Leading Multilateral Development Banks Tops $61.6bn

Climate financing by seven of the world’s largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) totalled $61.6 billion in 2019, of which $41.5 billion (67%) was in low- and middle-income economies, according to the 2019 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance.

The study expands the scope of reporting for the first time to all countries with multilateral development bank operations. It now provides data on MDB climate finance commitments beyond those directed solely at developing and emerging economies, but with the focus remaining on low- and middle-income countries.

This year the report combines data from the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), the World Bank Group (WBG) and – for the first time – the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), which joined the working group in October 2017. In 2019, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also joined MDB working groups, and its data is presented separately within the current report.

The 2019 report shows that $46.6 billion, or 76% of total financing for the year, was devoted to climate change mitigation investments that aim to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming. Of this, 59% went to low- and middle-income economies.

The remaining $15 billion, or 24%, was invested in adaptation efforts to help countries build resilience to the mounting impacts of climate change, including worsening droughts, extreme flooding and rising sea levels. Ninety-three percent of this finance was directed at low- and middle-income economies.

Additional climate funds channelled through MDBs, such as the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund, the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF), the European Union’s funds for Climate Action, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), play an important role in boosting MDB climate financing.

In 2019, the MDBs report a further $102.7 billion in net climate co-finance – investments from the public and private sector – taking the total of climate activity financed in the year to $164.3 billion.

The MDBs have reported on climate finance since 2011, based on a jointly developed methodology for climate finance tracking.

The 2019 edition of the Joint Report on MDBs’ Climate Finance is published in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused significant social and economic disruption, temporarily reducing global carbon emissions to 2006 levels.

Dr. Anthony Nyong, Director of Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, noted: “Our investments that contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement continue to grow. The climate finance provided by the Bank increased from $3.2 in 2018 to $3.5 billion in 2019 – representing 35% of total project approvals worth $10.2 billion.” The largest climate finance investments were made in the energy, agriculture and transport sectors.

Importantly, the Bank exceeded its target of achieving parity between adaptation and mitigation finance by allocating 55% of its climate finance resources to adaptation and 45% to mitigation, whereas globally more than 70% of climate finance is allocated to mitigation. More global efforts are needed to build climate change resilience and adaptation in Africa.

“As African economies face the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, slacking action or redirecting financial resources from climate change will further compound these impacts in a diverse and complex manner,” Dr. Nyong cautioned.

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