Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia has snubbed summons by Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises investigating acquisition of properties from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board.
The DAPCB was formed to assist Asians who abandoned properties when President Idi Amin expelled them in 1972 to repossess them.
COSASE had invited Sudhir to appear before the committee to explain how he acquired five properties that a whistle blower alleged were never repossessed from DAPCB and should be in government possession.
Sudhir didn’t show up for the summons yesterday. His lawyers Walusimbi & Co. Advocates had on Tuesday written to the COSASE Chairperson Ibrahim Kasozi asking why their client should appear before Parliament.
“He (Sudhir) requests for your advice as to why his presence is required, especially it being that he has never purchased any property from the DAPCB, nor has he claimed property on behalf of anybody.”
On the same Tuesday, Kasozi wrote back naming five properties that the committee is interested in. The properties are Plot 23 on Jinja Road, Plot 24 on Kampala Road, Plot 5 on Colville Street, Plot 3 and 5 on Bombo Road in Kampala and Plot 26 on Republic Street in Mbale. He went ahead to insist that Sudhir should appear before the committee.
Sudhir’s lawyers wrote back on the same day. “Our client reiterates that he has in all instances not purchased any of the said properties from the Departed Asians Custodian Board, which your esteemed committee is inquiring into.”
The lawyers went ahead to expound on the status of the properties the committee was interested in.
On Plot 43, Jinja Road: “Our clients records do not reflect this description. He has instructed us to carry out a further search at the land registry and revert to him at the earliest.”
The lawyers argued that Plot 24 on Kampala Road was resolved by a court decision between Meera Investments Ltd and DAPCB and can’t be subjected to an inquiry.
Nelson Walusimbi, Sudhir’s lawyer also adduced evidence by way of a title with transfer details indicating that the tycoon purchased Plot 8 Colville Street from the then registered proprietor, Uganda Theatres Limited.
He added that Plot 26, Republic Street Mbale was purchased from Nakasero Soap Works.
Plot 3 &5 Bombo Road were purchased from Joint Ven (U) Ltd.
“Our client requests for specific information about any possible dealings the honourable committee estimates he may have had with the statutory body so that he responds to those,” Walusimbi wrote.
Already, the Uganda Law Society has written to Kadaga indicating that summoning lawyers to discuss matters of DAPCB that are before court or were decided by court was out of order.
Word making round in some sections of the public is that some members of the committee tried to use the “summons” as way to extort money from the tycoon, but he stood his ground indicating that his properties were legally acquired.