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Ham Lied About Forgiving Tenants Rent Arrears – KACITA, Tycoon Haruna Waives Off COVID19 Rent Arrears, Traders Demand For Tax Holiday From Gov’t…

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L-R: Tycoon Ham Kiggundu and KACITA boss Kayondo

Kampala City landlords under their Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have resolved to waiving rent arrears for their Tenant’s who have been struggling to pay as a result of the post lockdown effect taking a toll on them.

Mr. Everest Kayondo, the chairperson of KACITA, disclosed that traders operating in Aponye Mall, Dembe Arcade and business centres managed by Knight Frank Uganda Ltd such as Forest Mall, Lugogo, have all been given rent waivers.

Mr. Kayondo cited the government’s dire need to intervene as a way of helping traders who are struggling to pay rent. Kayondo applauded operators like Knight Frank who he commended having clearly written to their tenants excusing them rent arrears for April to May; then for June to July, the tenants were supposed to pay 35 per cent less; August to October they were supposed to pay 25 percent less,” he told Daily Monitor.

Referring to renowned city tycoon, Hamis Kiggundu alias Ham, Kayondo added that some landlords are habitually making empty promises of waiving their tennants of monthly rent arrests in a selfish bid to attract traders to their empty premises.

“Ham said he excused his tenants for some months but he later demanded them to make a full payment because there was no agreement written down,” Kayondo narrated.

Ham however in response maintained that, landlords including himself and others are handling the issue of rent payment and waivers in different ways best known and appropriate amongst themselves.

“It’s a discussion between me and my tenants,” he added.

According to Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA),  traders are failing to keep their businesses afloat because of low purchasing power, and a solution had to be found with immediacy in approach. Waiving rent fees for tenants was therefore inevitably appropriately to at least keep the business set up intact.

KACITA apparently assessed the current situation and came up with the ultimate decision seconded by the owners of arcades and malls after traders massively started deserting the buildings in the city centre to operate shops in city outskirts.

However, when theGrapevine talked to Ham Kiggundu, he sent us a WhatsApp message telling us to ask the tenants he forgave rent arrears.

Businessman Haruna Ssentongo told Daily Monitor that he has also pardoned 120 tenants on his Haruna Mall in Ntinda. Haruna says that he has lost more than a billion shillings in failed clearance of rent arrears. He narrated how he tried to engage his tenants to pay their rent arrears but they failed.

Businessman Haruna Ssentongo

“I have lost more than a billion shillings because the economy is bad and businesses are down. I have forgiven tenants rent arrears worth Shs.1 billion for the past six months, from May to October,” he said, adding that chasing tenants is not good for business.

“We need tenants and tenants need us. We must work together and support each other for the economy to revive,” Mr Sentongo added.

Mr. John Walugembe, the executive director of the Federation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, said more businesses are closing because customers are not coming and that those who are coming make purchases on credit.

Mr. Walugembe appealed to government to focus on resuscitating the businesses that are dying and stimulate those that are struggling instead of only focusing on generating of taxes.

“We engaged the Finance Ministry for a stimulus package. We asked government to put in place an emergency economic injury fund which is a partial grant and loan which is interest-free, and we also asked for a tax holiday,” he said.

“The government put in place close to Shs1 trillion in Uganda Development Bank (UDB) for onward lending and other amounts of money for lending to SACCOs, among others. But there are many complaints about hardship in accessing the money at UDB,” Mr. Walugembe added, asking the government to consider coming up with alternative means for business owners to access the stimulus money.

 

By Baron Kironde

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Nandala Unopposed To Serve For Fifth Term As The BCU Boss…

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Budadiri East Member Of Parliament, Nathan Mandala Mafabi will continue as the Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) chairperson after Bugisu coffee farmers unanimously endorsing his stay for a fifth term now.

When the time for voting came, one of the farmers passed a proposal seeking to extend the tenure of office of the 9-member board unopposed and the same was unanimously endorse by the farmers.

This was during the annual general meeting held at the union headquarters in Mbale.

Nandala becomes the first to benefit from the amendment of the cooperatives law to remove the term limit.

Besides Nandala, who joined the union in 2008, the whole BCU board has been given another term in office, following the amendment of the Cooperative Act and term to 4 from the initial 2 years by Parliament.

On Friday, BCU members who attended the Annual General Meeting of 2020/21 unanimously voted to return the board members, whose term expired last month. The delegates were drawn from Upper Central, Lambuli, Sironko, Bugusege, Lwakhakha, Lower central Zone, Manafwa, Rusty and Bubulo Zones.

Peter Weduku from Bumayiza Primary Society under BCU, says that the current board has been effective and there is no justification why the members should vote for another board.

Among the achievements registered by the board, there has been establishment of the BCU radio for farmers, paying farmers on time and punishing BCU staff accused of embezzling funds.

Nandala Mafabi, the BCU Board Chairperson and MP Budadiri West promised to work hard such that the price of a kilogram of coffee returns at 10,000 Shillings. Mafabi told the members that the covid-19 pandemic affected the exports following the closure of borders.

Nathan Egume, the State Minister of Cooperatives urged the Bamasaba to sell their coffee to BCU rather than to its competitors if BCU is to grow.

Nandala’s re-election however comes at the time when the union is grappling with an Shs2.1 billion liquidity deficit and huge losses attributed to lack of internal controls, high operating costs, and a high staff to income ratio.

The board is now seeking to borrow money from the microfinance support center to fix the liquidity gap.

The union is also grappling with a high exodus of farmers who have resorted to dealing with multinationals. This is attributed to poor business acumen.

By Baron Kironde

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What Makes Owebabazi Judith The Most Powerful Babe At Housing Finance Bank… 

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Save for the short time she left to work for Eco Bank, Owembabazi Judith has worked for Housing Finance Bank (HFB) for most of her life. This has made her turn into the most powerful babe at the Kololo based bank.

She has seen many MDs come and go and those she has outlived are Nicolas Okwir, Mathias Katamba and Miko Mugabi. She is head marketing but more powerful than even Peace Kabunga who is executive director and her supervisor because marketing falls under her.

Owembabazi who comes from Mbarara is in her late 40s but owns riches which her agemates, OBs and OGs can only dream about. She owns three apartments in Kampala in places like Kisaasi and Ntinda. She also has a school in Bukoto Gold Bird international school which is a kindergarten for kids from rich families.

School fees is paid in dollars. Grapevine snoops have been gathering info about this secretive corporate babe and they can now report that she sometime back sold three of her big properties in Kampala to expand her school. And she is a mother of 4 kids, 2 gals and two boys. Her youngest kid is 5 years and one of her best friends is called Allan who even stood for MP some time ago and she was one of the people who put in money. She likes calling him Papa.

Her other secret is that the guys managing a company called Liquid co ltd like her very much and they fear to annoy her because she uses her connections to get for them business deals. Her other very good friend is called Fox, the branch manager housing finance bank Mukono branch. They used to work together in Kampala branch and through Fox, Owembabazi has a lot of influence in the housing finance bank branch network, when management comes up with a new policy, they have to use her to popularize it or else it fails to be implemented.

When Okwir was MD, he gave Judith a lot of powers and whatever she recommended, the big man would just sign to get money to facilitate the activity. She one time advised that they open Pearl Lounge for the rich clients at the headquarters and Okwir just signed for her millions of money to import furniture from China. Because she has many connections in the media, Okwir, who likes playing golf and having fan at the golf course would use her to soften editors to make sure bad stories are not written about him and the bank.

When Okwir left, the next MD was Mathias Katamba who found life hard because Judith didn’t welcome him. Katamba said he wanted to do some restructuring and improve on the professionalism in the marketing department which Judith saw as interference, the two coiled.

In the end, Judith won because Katamba didn’t last long at housing bank. After Katamba, the new person who became MD was Judith’s workmate Peace Kabunga. This angered Judith to an extent that she would skip her immediate supervisor (Kabunga) and report directly to the ED.

Judith didn’t like Kabunga because the job she took was supposed to be hers at least according to what her supporters thought.

Katamba would praise other powerful ladies to be very hard working and this hurt Judith’s supporters at the bank. Katamba praised people like Ivan Kituka, Hope Ekudu, Wycliffe Natuhwera, Martin Mwanje, Peace, Beatrice Ngita, Alice Owor and others as hardworking something Judith looked at as belittling her.

He would never praise Judith as hard working.  Judith also handles the media buying at housing bank and that is a lucrative job. It makes her have contacts with guys who sell space in newspapers, on TVs, radios and bill boards. She only needs approval of the contracts committee which she always shows value for money and they let her be. Service providers who annoy her will always be very scared until she forgives them because they fear they need her approval to get PR deals in housing bank. She is also incorruptible and service providers fear to involve her in those dirty things of 50 percent cuts or kickback. When they try they know she can report them to police directly.

Judith has managed to be very powerful because she has a trusted PA called Prima Dona who protects her interests always even when she is away on leave. One time she was away on maternity leave when Okwir was still MD and some bad-mannered members of the department wrote a bad dossier against her which Okwir investigated and trashed as false. The MD must have known the dangers of angering a babe who has so many connections in media and generally the town.

Judith also has friends in the bank departments which matter a lot. Her best friends and close allies at work include Dorothy Kiyaga, the head of audit who reports directly to the board and not the MD. That means Judith can get any info from the board through her friend which makes her stronger. Kiyaga has been at housing finance for many years like Judith. Medard Mwesigwa, the CFO is also her good friend and ally which means her loyal service providers can’t fail to get paid on time. Deborah Kamugisha, the head HR is her good friend also and that means she can get any info about restructuring quickly before others get to know. Sarah Ahabwe, of the finance dept is her good pal also and they are close. David Twinamatsiko who heads distribution channels is her good ally also and she has to market his new products like master card, mobile banking etc, for the public to understand them and make money for the bank shareholders.

In the mortgaging department, the powerful babe is tight buddy with two influential managers namely Damalie Barungi for diaspora sales and Yunnus Babwaire. Because Judith is very powerful, housing bank workers like Brian Mutungi, the manager product development, research and agent banking are always working hard to make her happy and win her favors because she is a fearless boss who can defend you even if it means going to the board. That is why Brian Mutungi can willingly carry her bag or even open and reply her emails in case she is stressed and decides to remain at home chilling.

Brian who came from Stanbic bank is strategic and knows the dangers of not being liked or favored by such a powerful caring boss. Mutungi also knows that the other managers he joined housing bank with like Victoria Mukasa and Jane Rukundo didn’t have many days at HFB because they failed to become sycophants to win favors of such a very powerful lady at the bank like Judith.

This same Judith is too powerful even some board members fear her and this was seen recently. When they started restructuring requiring some workers to reapply for their jobs, the board members got reports that Judith was stressed and would become annoyed and take the case to court accusing them of mistreatment. The board members feared being sued by Judith and they stopped the restructuring process because it would invite bad stories to be written about housing finance bank once court begins hearing the case.

THE OPERA NEWS STORY

The restructuring of staff at housing finance bank was reported about on opera news on Monday with the following verbatim detailed opera news story which goes as follows; Sometime back, the governing board for Housing Finance Bank (Kololo-based and partly owned by government) resolved to implement job evaluation exercise leading to restructuring of staff many of whom would be affected in ways they didn’t like. The new structure would introduce chief positions (like CEO, CCO, CFO, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Legal Officer and others). Under the new arrangement, the Executive Director of the Bank would also serve as the Chief Commercial Officer. This new structure redefined the executive committee of the institution by making all chiefs members of the same.  Aware that they stand no chance to become chiefs, some senior and long serving members of staff, who had been part of the old executive committee, developed cold feet while having sleepless nights. Truth is they couldn’t be members of the ex-co anymore, a thing that naturally deprives them of influence, clout and significant financial and travel privileges.

 Besides creating new chief positions, the new structure also altered the composition of some departments. Some were abolished or even merged with others to achieve greater efficiency. For instance, what existed as distribution channels and customer experience was expanded to encompass mortgages and commercial banking to become one larger thing to be headed by a head of department. The marketing department would be severely affected too. In fact, this alteration and adjustment of departments would leave some managers jobless implying they would have to apply afresh if they desired to head any of the newly curved departments and stay on as HFB employees.

 At the end of the day, two previous heads of departments would find themselves jobless and having to compete or one position to head one of the merged departments if they were to remain in the service of the bank.

 In each department at the Bank are some powerful people to be negatively affected by this job evaluation and restructuring imposed by the Board. And its these that became disgruntled and coalesced themselves into a powerful cabal syndicating every effort to demonize the situation, scatter the board into disarray and prompt the Board into shelving its staff redeployment plans. Their agreed plan of action was to amplify imaginary sex scandals involving some of the people in top management.

 One story related to a female boss whose husband was supposed to have beaten her protesting her closeness to a board member. The other rumor targeted Ivan Kituuka who social media went as far as falsely claiming had been murdered after being accused of being close to somebody’s wife. We aren’t saying because the two individuals targeted are angels in anyway. We even have no capability to readily establish the extent of their infallibility. But the truth is the targeted female boss was a key beneficiary in the new chief structure and would have supervisory powers over one of the lucrative departments whose previous head naturally dislikes her yet she was now going to be under her supervision in the new structure. Similarly, the youthful Kituuka had to be targeted because it was apparent he was destined to head one of the newly created/expanded departments in case he applied for the role.

 But the broader picture is that such sex-oriented scandalization of HFB as an institution was aimed by syndicate members (most of them females) at creating a scandal that would frighten the Board into reconsidering its priority. With such a scandal playing out on social media, there is no way the Board would push on with restructuring because cleaning up the media mess becomes top priority and major preoccupation so that the brand is shielded as banking is one fragile sector or industry where markets severely respond and immediately. Such sex scandal, fabricated as it might be, can significantly affect the bank’s performance into non-profitability as depositors will reflect deeply before concluding such is the right place where to keep keeping their hard-earned money. The resultant reputational damage is equally a headache not just for management and other stakeholders but the Board, the government and other shareholders.    

 In fact, the conspirators plan is that should the Board use its upcoming quarterly meeting to push the restructuring agenda back on table, some of the disgruntled managers (most of them females) will escalate matters to court by suing for breach of employment contract and wrongful dismissal from their jobs which they are certain to lose should the Board insist on rolling out the new structure.  Yet the scandalization trick is one members of the powerful syndicate can’t abandon because it previously worked wonders for them. When Nicolas Okwir was HFB MD, he suffered a tabloid media storm characterized by sex scandals and this was after he attempted to assert himself as MD to reshuffle and redeploy some people from juicy dockets to what they perceive as dry ones. Mathias Katamba equally faced similar storm when he pondered staff redeployment and members of the powerful cabal branded him tribalist trying to favor his Bantu co-ethnics. He was thick-skinned and a seasoned PR Manager in his own right who knew how to deescalate such scandalous publicity and was as such determined to carry on whatever staffing reforms he planned but didn’t stay long enough as he was lured to leave to become DFCU MD after a much better remuneration offer came knocking.   

 

By Grapevine Reporter

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Time To Pay Your Debts: BOU Orders All Borrowers Who Had Loans With Sudhir’s Defunct Crane Bank To Start Servicing Them…

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Bank of Uganda has ordered all borrowers who took loans from the defunct Crane Bank owned by tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia to satrt servicing them.

In a statement released today and signed by the Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, BoU notified borrowers whose loans were transferred to DFCU Bank to continue servicing them with DFCU Bank Ltd.

“Bank of Uganda (BoU) took over management of Crane Bank Ltd. (CBL) on October 20, 2016 and subsequently progressed it into receivership on January 24, 2017. In exercise of its powers under section 99 (1) & (2) of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004, BoU has now placed CBL under liquidation and ordered the winding up of its affairs. The Central Bank shall be the liquidator of CBL,” Mutebile notes.

He adds, “All borrowers of CBL, whose loans were transferred to DFCU Bank under the purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities agreement between CBL (In Receivership) and DFCU Bank Ltd., must continue to service their loan obligations with DFCU Bank Ltd.”

He adds that other borrowers of CBL, whose loans were not transferred to DFCU Bank, must service their loans by paying into the designated collection accounts at Bank of Uganda.

“CBL borrowers, whose loans were not transferred to DFCU Bank Ltd., can access a statement of their indebtedness from the office of the Director Commercial Banking at Bank of Uganda headquarters.

Creditors of CBL will be notified of the procedure for presentation of their claims to the liquidator,” he says.

 

By Grapevine Reporter

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