News and Views
Canadian’s tale of how a Kampala tycoon grabbed his Ushs 3bn Property – RECAP
It was Hell when sudhir;s men throw us (tenants) out of the property .KPI security guards acted like Dogs, we lost property as an immediate vacation notice was practically impossible. School going kids were worst affected.We lost jobs as a result.
By Administrator, Sunrise Uganda, November 21, 2012
A Canadian National Sadrudin Gulamhussein has given a hallowing tale of how City tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia forged a land title for his property valued at Ushs 3 billion and located in Nakasero in Kampala.
Following the alleged fraud, Gulamhussein said, his property – a storey bungalow with boys quarters located on Plot 8 in Upper Nakasero, was transferred into the names of Sudhir’s Meera Investments Limited.
Gulamhussein says it took the President’s intervention to have the property revert to him, after the fraud – which was reportedly helped by officers of the Lands registry.
The Canadian’s claims are contained in a defence to a case filed by Sudhir, saying he was bonafide purchaser of the property.
Sudhir says he cannot give up on the property because he has a title to it issued to him by government of Uganda. The longstanding dispute was investigated by the Lands registry and it was discovered that Gulamhussein was the rightful owner. The Commissioner of Lands subsequently cancelled Sudhir’s title.
Represented by Sendege, Ssenyondo and Company Advocates, Gulamhussein says he bought the property from one Laxmibai Patel. He later registered his proprietorship of the property with the Land registry on December 14, 1962 under instrument number 153727.
Justice Rubby Aweri Opio of the High Court’s Land Division presides over the case.
Gulamhussein jetted into the country on Monday March 1, and went straight to court for the pre-trial session- where each party was required to give a summary of their case, agreed and contentious issues, list of witnesses and authorities each would rely on.
The exercise flopped after Sudhir’s lawyer, Alex Rezida was reported to be out of the country – an exact repeat of the reasons that were given the last time the matter came to court.
Justice Aweri pushed the case to April 23 and ordered that the Attorney General joins the case since Sudhir insists government employees in the land Registry issued him the contentious land title.
Canadian’s lawyers show how the fraud was played out
According to Gulamhussein account, it all started with a fictitious Shaban Matovu presenting a forged special certificate of title (SCT) to the Registrar of Titles, securing ownership of the property on March 21, 2007.
His “ownership” was registered under Instrument Number 378396. Shaban accompanied his reported fake STC with a letter bearing Gulamhussein’s signature, indicating he was agreeable to the move. Gulamhussein) had apparently on July 14, 1999, put a caveat on the property to ward off land thieves.
“I had lost another property- Lutembe Beach- under similar circumstances before. So I feared it would not be long before goons with the lust of a harlot for property went for this one,” Gulamhussein cheekily explains.
Registrar, one Godlive Nayebare had rejected to lift the caveat on grounds that the signature on Gulamhussein’s title copy with the registry was different from the one on Matovu’s SCT, only for another registrar, Veronica Namutebi, to lift the caveat.
The property later changed hands to one Davis Kakwenzire, under instrument number 381541 dated June 5, 2007. Kakwenzire later mortgaged the property to Crane Bank- for an alleged Ushs700m loan.
Crane Bank was later to send the SCT to the Land Registry, inquiring whether it was encumbered, before its sister company, Meera, finally bought it off at an alleged Shs1.7bn on July 7,2007.
This was even before the repayment time for the loan had expired.
“What happened amounts to inside trading within the banking system, which is barred by the Central Bank,” Gulamhussein’s lawyer, Ssendege observes. Ssendege also adds Sudhir’s SCT was issued under a wrong law making it a nullity.
When Matovu was selling the property to Kakwenzire, the Government Valuer put it at a mere Shs600m- only to hike it to Shs2.2bn- hardly three months later, when Kakwenzire was selling it to Sudhir.
After securing the title to the property under instrument number 382985, Gulamhussein says, Sudhir used his buddy Godfrey Kirumira’s guards, KPI Securiko, to throw out tenants at his property.
“If the transaction was not fishy, there would not be need for deploying guards to throw out tenants since I would be naturally agreeable to the sale,” Gulamhussein reasoned.
This is when Gulamhussein got to know of the scam and petitioned the President to undo the fraud.
President Museveni swung into action, directing the Police to investigate the scam.
In his later to the IGP, dated February 8, 2008, President Museveni’s concern over the fraudulent nature of the transfer. ordered for a fresh investigation.
The President’s Feb 8, 2008 letter reads in part: ” I have received information about the fraudulent manner in which the above property was transferred to the detriment of the true owner Sadrudin Gulamhussein Habib and a copy of the legalistic Police report.”
An earlier Police enquiry headed by one Elly Womanya had cleared Sudhir of any wrongdoing, arguing he was a bonafide purchaser for value- which is what Museveni apparently termed legalistic- and instead recommended prosecution of Matovu, Kakwenzire and land registrars.
The president smelt foul play even in the earlier police inquiry. The president worried: “This trend is dangerous, if we are to allow property owners to loose them in this manner. It will erode our efforts of attracting investors.
“This is therefore to direct you to constitute a competent and uncompromisable team of serious officers to investigate this matter thoroughly with a view to returning this property to the genuine owner and to ensure whoever is involved is brought to book.”
On the president’s directive, the IGP formed a team of CID officers headed by Hillary Odoch, which discovered that Shaban’s SCT that started off the scam was fake.
“This implies that whatever business was conducted basing on it came to naught and is void,” observed the Police.
The enquiry also cites forgery of documents used in the transaction as another reason to fail the whole scheme.
The boss Land Registration who is also a Commissioner Sarah Kulata Basangwa was later to cancel Sudhir’s title, after he failed to prove it was not a forgery, insisting it was valid because it was issued to him by the same office.
Sudhir complains that the High Court had stayed the cancellation of his title, to look into the matter, when Basangwa went ahead with the exercise.
Kaihura’s men later evicted Sudhir and put Gulamhussein back in the property’s possession. Sudhir fights on with Gulamhussein vowing to go all the way to retain his investment.
School going kids were worst affected.We lost jobs as a result. JUSTICE MUST PREVAIL.HABIB GOD IS NOT RESTING.PRESIDENT MUSEVENI YOU ARE KNOWN TO CHAMPION JUSTICE WHY DAY LIGHT THIEVES ABUSE OUR NATION UGANDA.HABIB MUST USE HIS PROPERTY FREELY.