Members of Parliament on the committee of Commissions, Statutory Authority and State Enterprises have resolved to issue arrest warrant for businessman Sudhir Ruparelia over his failure to appear before the committee four times.
Sudhir was expected before the committee to explain the acquisition of 32 prime properties, some of them previously belonging to departed Asians.
The businessman, who was recently appointed Consular General of Nepal to Uganda, has disregarded committee summons and persistently kept on asking for more time since last year.
Sudhir was expected by the committee chaired by Makindye East MP, Ibrahim Kasozi, on Tuesday; but through his lawyers of Walusimbi and Co. Advocates pleaded with the committee that he was presenting his credentials before the Foreign Affairs Minister on that day.
The committee members sympathized and adjourned the hearing to Thursday, only to be shocked today that the witness sent his lawyers to again ask for more time.
The development prompted MPs to call for immediate arrest of Sudhir for deliberately disrespecting the committee summons. Parliament committees have powers of the High Court to invoke Rule 221 to issue arrest warrants.
Kampala Central MP, Mohamed Nsereko appealed to colleagues to give Sudhira the last chance and indeed the Kasozi later ruled as so.
“This is the last chance we are giving to Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, to respect his recent diplomatic position and appear here on Thursday 12 April without fail. Should he fail, we shall invoke rules and ask our CID to arrest and bring him here,” said Kasozi.
According to documents seen by ChimpReports, forged powers of attorneys were manufactured to acquire most of the 32 properties including Plot 43 Jinja Road Kampala, ministries of ICT and Justice buildings, Plot 26 Republican Street, Mbale, Plot 23 Jinja Road, Plot 24 Kampala Road, Plot 5 Colville Street, Plot 3 and 5 Bombo Road.
In one of the chilling records from the lands registry, Gold Star Insurance, owned by Sudhir, acquired plot 43 Jinja Road in 5 minutes when it had also exchanged hands twice in the space of 5 minutes. The said plot made entries three times in 10 minutes blatantly against the required two entries in 24 hours.
The first entry for the said plot was made (transferred) to Mr. Abdul Ghani and Abdul Majid on May 16 1995 under REGD. 270550 at 3:30PM. The second entry was made in the names of Abdul Gani, who became the administrator of the late Adbul Majid estate, under REGD. 270551 at 3:35PM. The third entry was made in the name of Gold Star Insurance Company P.O Box 2397 Kampala under REGD. 270522 at 3:40PM.
Plot 43 Jinja Road is vast commercial buildings, between Bank of Africa headquarters and Nina Interiors, managed by Crane Management Services of Sudhir.
Findings made by the committee and petitions received on the same land, letter of administration from Abdul Gani, who reportedly didn’t return to Uganda from United Kingdom in 1995, was forged.
“There was fraudulent acquisition of letters of administration of Abdul Majid by someone purported to be Abdul Gani (brother of Abdul Majid) who fraudulently sold the property to Gold Star Insurance Company in May 1995and later transferred to Meera Investments Ltd on 11 February 2004,” said a petition to the committee.
Committee members and Land Ministry officials believe majority of the properties were acquired through dubious powers of attorneys.
In the case of Plot 43 Jinja Road, Abdul Gani only had only “repossessed” half share of the property but later “sold” it to Gold Star Insurance.
“There are no records that Abdul Gani returned to Uganda in 1995 to transact sales of Plot 43 Jinja road and neither did he have power to sale it since he only had a half share repossessed,” said a petition.
MPs held their tears on Tuesday listening to Ms. Androna Margaret Kabagenyi narrating her ordeal of how Sudhir team violently evicted her from a property she had occupied for years on Plot 26 Republican Street Mbale. The property (building) which belonged to the departed Asians was irregularly repossessed on December 1 1995, after the official expiry of the closing date 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 a petition from Kabagenyi.
Ms. Kabagenyi, now on wheel chair with amputated legs, said she developed serious illness after the horrible treatment during the eviction and she is always in and out of hospital.
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 letter of allocation from DAPCB of 1991 and circulars from the Ministry of Finance and Auditor General.