After losing a Court Appeal that tried to reverse the sale of his Simbamanyo House and Afrique Suites, businessman Peter Kamya has sought the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni.
Kamya’s Simbamanyo House was sold to tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s Meera Investments while his Afrique Suites was sold to Luwaluwa Investments when he failed to service a $8.1m (about Shs29.8b) loan from Equity Bank. Sudhir has since renamed Simbamanyo House to Gender & Labour House.
Following up on Kamya’s petition, Museveni wrote to Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile in a letter titled; “Claims of illegal sale of Simbamanyo House and Afrique Suites,” asking him to investigate the matter.
“They (Peter Kamya and Dr. Margaret Muganwa) state that, whereas Bank of Uganda directed that there should be no foreclosure of mortgaged properties by Banks during the Covid-19 pandemic, Equity Bank went ahead and sold their properties at very low prices. That they had even offered to get their own buyers but all their attempts were frustrated,” Museveni wrote.
In the letter dated September 3, Museveni had directed Mutebile to expeditiously investigate the matter and report back within one week. While BoU has confirmed they are investigating the matter, they are yet to get back to the President.
Records from Equity Bank indicate that despite a lockdown having been instituted in March 2020, Simbamanyo was still receiving rent by June 2020 and not servicing his loan. He had reneged on his obligations even before lockdown.
In August 2020, Equity advertised that they would proceed to auction Kamya’s properties in case he didn’t service his loan, but the advert only got a response from Kamya’s lawyers Muwema & Co. Advocates suing Equity Bank Uganda, Equity Bank Kenya and Bank One, Mauritius for breach of trust, unethical and illegal conduct and predatory practices. Kamya wanted court to declare the $10.5m loan he had acquired from Equity in 2017 illegal and wanted court to cancel the mortgages attached to the loan.
Kamya lost out after Equity successfully argued that Simbamanyo benefited and was aware of every financial transaction that was advanced to it. Court on September 7, 2020 gave Kamya 30 days to deposit $3.1m, which was about 30 per cent of his loan obligation to stop the auction. Kamya didn’t pay the money and the properties were advertised and subsequently sold. Kamya’s appeals in court were unsuccessful.