Despite concerns raised by Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda about the frequent renting of space by government departments from city magnate Sudhir Ruparelia, experts and public commentators clarify that no laws are being breached by the rental deals.
Recently, MP Ssemujju publicly demanded an investigation into how Sudhir repeatedly secures lucrative government contracts. These agreements generate an exceptional income for Sudhir, prompting questions about potential hidden influences in his enterprises. Sudhir’s Meera Investments Limited, along with his other firms, accumulate a substantial Shs2.9bn monthly due to these government deals.
Ssemujju disclosed the breakdown of payments coming from various ministries: the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs contributes Shs450m, the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology dispenses Shs320m, the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development adds Shs250m, the judiciary, through the Anti-Corruption Court, provides Shs180m, the Ministry for East Africa Affairs distributes Shs280m, and the Equal Opportunities Commission contributes Shs86m monthly to Sudhir.
Additional departments making payments to Sudhir include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which gives Shs60m, Parliament, which pays Shs860m, the President’s Office, which dispatches Shs66m, the Uganda Revenue Authority, which releases Shs300m, and the Uganda Electoral Commission, which remits Shs300m every month for Sudhir’s properties in Kampala.
Ssemujju seeks a statement from President Museveni, querying what makes Sudhir unique, especially since he’s allegedly appropriating government land without any requisite payment.
However, experts and public commentators have argued that Sudhir, a prominent taxpayer and a major investor in modern office, business, and residential properties, is well within his rights to engage in tenancy deals with government agencies.
“GoU isn’t in real estate [business]. Sudhir is. It’s his core business. They’ve done business for ages. What’s the issue?” one public commentator Allan Kassujja said.
Mr Ruparelia, through his Meera Investments Ltd and Crane Management Services Ltd, is one of the leading estate developers in the region with signature projects like Kingdom Kampala, Hardware City, Market Plaza, and Kampala Boulevard building, among others.
Sudhir’s business empire also spans hotels and the hospitality industry, floriculture, education and schools to media, insurance, forex, and banking.
The city business mogul is currently plotting the re-development of the former Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) headquarters on Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala, with a multi-million dollar massive Business Park, that will host office premises, a shopping centre, health and leisure amenities among others.
According to the artistic impressions—The Pearl Business Park — is an 18-acre mixed-use facility that will host a 5-star hotel, a shopping mall and a modern hospital when complete.
Phase one of the project to be completed soon, will cater to office space while the building will have 16 lettable floors with 27,240 sqm of built-up area.