Mrs. Androna Margaret Kabagenyi had both legs intact, until May 25 2017 when brutal eviction men descended on the property she had occupied for years in Mbale town.
The physical and psychological torment she suffered at the hands of these men, hired by the Mbale local government acting in the interest of Meera Investments that’s owned by Sudhir Ruparelia, resulted in her being hospitalized and consequently amputated.
Members of Parliament, staff and other witnesses held their tears on Tuesday last week, listening to Kabagenyi, who is now confined in a wheel chair; narrating the excruciating experience she underwent during the eviction that also completely destroyed her livelihood; Focema Enterprises merchandizes, where she is a sole proprietor.
Kabagenyi, in the long quest for justice, wrote to Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on November 24 2019 for intervention to reclaim the property on Plot 26 Republican/Obote Street where she says she was a lawful tenant before it was fraudulently repossessed and later leased to Meera Investments.
The property originally belonged to the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCD).
“I returned home only to find men drunk on waragi, and marijuana or something I don’t know, and I failed to get access to my property,” said Ms. Kabagenyi.
The elderly woman was admitted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital after drastic increase in her pressure levels.
The looted and destroyed building had a secretarial bureau section with computers, a printer, scanner photocopier and scholastic materials. Another section had a boutique with imported suits for men and women, rolls of African wear (kitenges), 6 sewing machines doing embroidery and others. The third section had general merchandize and all disappeared in a day. The second day on May 26 the whole building was razed down in total disregard of an interim injunction Kabagenyi had secured from Mbale High Court.
The property (building) according to Kabagenyi, supported by documents from authorities, was irregularly repossessed on December 1 1995, after the official expiry of the closing date in 1993, and was later leased to Sudhir’s Meera Investments.
“The repossession certificate No. 2651 was issued on 1/12/1995 after the official expiry of the closing date in 1993, as such it was an illegality,” said Kabagenyi.
Two circulars from the office of the Departed Asian Property Custodian Board (DAPCB) of the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General indicate that Plot 26, Republican Street Mbale is yet to be repossessed or sold. Kabagenyi furnished the committee with seven documents including a letter of allocation from DAPCB of 1991 and circulars from the Ministry of Finance and Auditor General.
Kabagenyi, in her state, has in the space of two weeks travelled to Kampala three times for the committee hearing and in all disappointed by the unsympathetic absence of Sudhir, a Kampala resident, who has kept on asking for more time.
Sudhir failed to appear before the committee four times and MPs have resolved to issue arrest warrant if he doesn’t avail himself on April 2 2020.
Plot 26 Republican Street property is among the 32 prime properties with questionable acquisition by Sudhir. Others are Plot 43 Jinja Road Kampala, Plot 23 Jinja Road, Plot 24 Kampala Road, Plot 5 Colville Street, Plot 3 and 5 Bombo Road.
Apparently, the iron sheets that had been used to fence the building in the Republican Street have been removed as pressure mounts on Sudhir, now conscious of his diplomatic status as the Consular General of the Republic of Nepal.