Tycoon Sudhir acquires Shs18.5b Simbamanyo House

City tycoon and Real Estates Property Mogul Sudhir Ruparelia has acquired Simbamanyo House a prime property in the centre of Kampala at 18.5 billion Ugandan Shillings.

The building had been mortgaged by its owners with Equity Bank but after failing to pay, the exercise was conducted through public bidding on October 8 by Equity Bank Limited.

Sudhir acquired the building through the investment arm of the Ruparelia Group of Companies in a public auction at $5 million about (Shs18.5 billion)

in a letter dated October 8, Equity Bank informed the tenants of Simbamanyo House of change of management.

“We are writing to inform you that Equity Bank Uganda Limited, as mortgagee, has completed the sale of the above-mentioned property, after a public auction concluded on October 8, 2020, to the evaluated bidder M/S Meera Investment Ltd. All the tenants were put on notice of the said auction via an advert in the Daily Monitor Newspaper dated September 8, 2020.” reads the notice signed by Sam Kirubi, the Managing Director of the Bank.

“The new owners will get in touch with all tenants individually to work out the modalities for the ownership transition. We trust you to accord the new owners all the courtesy and all future rental payments and other tenant inquiries and obligations will be handled by Meera Investments Ltd or their agents.”

Simbamanyo House owned by Peter Kamya, the proprietor of Simbamanyo Estates is embroiled in a legal dispute with Equity Bank Uganda and Equity Bank Kenya resulting from unpaid loans that were advanced to the real estate company.

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On August 20, 2012, Equity bank Uganda and Equity bank Kenya granted a loan facility of $6m to Simbamanyo to finance the construction of a hotel in Luzira, Kampala

Under the arrangement, Equity Bank Kenya was described as the lender who advanced $2.5m out of the total loan granted whereas the remainder of the loan $3.5m was lent by Equity Bank Uganda.

However, Simbamanyo Estates, acting through Muwema and Co Advocates and Solicitors challenged the amount, saying the company is only aware of the loan by Equity Bank Uganda, arguing that Equity Bank Kenya was not licensed to transact such business in Uganda and with the knowledge or means of knowing that it is illegal and prohibited by the Financial Institutions Act 2004.

Last month,  the commercial court granted Kamya, proprietor of Simbamanyo Estate 30 days to deposit $3.1m (about Shs11b) to Equity Bank Uganda to avert the impending auction of the company’s properties over a loan.

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Justice Boniface Wamala said the payment of Shs11b was a condition to halt the auctioning of the property. Simbamanyo failed to meet the condition.

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