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Luwero District Chairperson loses multi-million school over debt

LUWERO, UGANDA: A few days after he was last week declared bankrupt and disqualified from the Katikamu North parliamentary race for failing to pay a sh542m debt he owed to a Kampala car dealer, Luwero district chairperson Ronald Ndawula’s problems are apparently only deepening.

Another debt owed to Equity Bank has made him lose a multimillion shilling school complex that he owned in Luwero town. 

Everest Primary and Secondary School complex, with over 2,000 students, was recently attached and sold off by court brokers over an unspecified debt that Ndawula owed Equity Bank. 

Denis Sekabira, the new owner of the day and boarding primary and secondary school, on Tuesday (January 5, 2021) said he acquired the multi-million shilling property after it was advertised in the newspapers and later auctioned by court brokers. 

Sekabira said he bought the property after emerging the highest bidder.

Disqualified 

Ndawula, who had been nominated as an independent candidate in the eight-man race for the Katikamu North parliamentary seat, faced his first setback last week when the Electoral Commission nullified his candidature following a December 2, 2002, High Court order that declared him bankrupt. 

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This was after Ndawula, who has hitherto been doubling as Luwero district chairperson and district NRM boss, failed to clear a 2012 sh542m debt he owed Hiraa Traders, a Kampala car dealer firm. 

According to the Bankruptcy Act, when one is declared bankrupt, they are disqualified from holding any key government office. 

Sekabira was also one of those vying for the seat of Katikamu North MP before Ndawula’s candidature was nullified.

Background  

Through CL Risk Management Services, a debt collecting and auctioning company, Equity Bank published a notice in a local newspaper on October 15, 2020, in which it warned that it would attach and auction Everest Schools’ properties in case the owners did not pay at least 30% of the undisclosed outstanding loan balance. 

The bank went ahead with the threat and sold the school. 

However, Ndawula is challenging the manner in which his schools were sold off although he admits having obtained a loan from Equity Bank. 

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Ndawula, who has run to Police in order to have the matter investigated, contends that the process in which his schools were sold, was marred by irregularities. 

Among other complaints, Ndawula says the sale was not preceded by a valuation report and that the auctioneering firm, CL Risk Management Services, is not registered. 

Ndawula explains that he took the loan so as to expand his school and had been servicing it smoothly until early last year when the COVID-19 pandemic set in. 

He says despite the financial difficulties that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic, Equity Bank did not relax the repayment terms. 


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