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    Tycoon Aponye In More Trouble As URA, Sudhir Floor Him In Multi Billion Deal…

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    Businessmen Sudhir (L) and Aponye (R)

    Embattled city businessman Apollo Nyegamahe, the proprietor of Aponye group of companies is in tears after he was defeated by fellow businessman Sudhir Ruparelia in a Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) multibillion deal on techinicality.

    The Public Procurement And Disposal Of Public Assets  (PPDA) Appeals Tribunal chaired by Francis Gimara dismissed Aponya’s application challenging a multibillion deal that URA awarded the Sudhir’s Meera Investments Limited.

    In his application, Aponye, through his Aponye House Limited wanted the tribunal to review URA’s decision involving the provision of additional parking slots for Kampala Metro office under procurement Reference Number URA/CSD/NONCONS/22-23/01831.

    In his application, Aponye told the Tribunal that on 6th February, 2023, the Respondent (URA) through publication of a bid notice, initiated a procurement process using restricted Domestic Bidding Method and the advert was published in the New Vision newspaper of 6th February, 2023.

    He added that on 22nd March, 2023, the Invitations to Bid (ITBs) and the bidding documents were sent by email to URA and providers were shortlisted.

    They included; Meera Investments Limited owned by Sudhir, Uganda House Investments Limited owned by Aponye House Limited and Apple Properties Limited.

    He revealed that on 30th March, 2023, a pre-bid meeting was held at URA offices and it was attended by Wepukhulu Joshua, the Estate Officer of URA; Alex Akampurira, a Civil Engineer with Aponye House Limited; Abdul Kadhi, the property manager of Meera Investments Limited.

    He added that on 6th April 2023, URA only received Meera Investments Limited bid that is why they decided to complain in writing on 13th April, 2023 to the Accounting Officer URA challenging the refusal to accept the submission of their bid.

    However, on 20th April, 2023, the URA Accounting Officers dismissed Aponye’s complaint and directed the procurement and disposal unit to proceed with the procurement process.

    Aponye claims that URA was unfair to deny him to submit a bid in total disregard of the basic principles of public procurement and disposal of public assets.

    In their response, URA, through Tracey Ahumuza and Patricia Ndagire and Meera Investment Limited, who were represented by Counsel Nelson Walusimbi denied the entire application and raised a preliminary objection claiming that the application was time barred and not properly brought before the tribunal.

    URA relied on Section 911(2)(b) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act 2003 as amended.

    The tribunal agreed with URA that Aponye filed his appeal before the tribunal out of time and his application was dismissed.

    “The Applicant ought to have filed the Application not later than May 5th 2023. The instant Application lodged with the Tribunal on May 9th  2023 was therefore filed out of timeline set by the law and is incurably defective and incompetent,” the ruling reads in part.

    It further reads that the timelines that were set by the PPDA Act were for a purpose and are not merely technicalities and must be strictly complied with.

    “Issue no. 1 is resolved in the negative. The application, is incompetent, will be struck out. There is no need to delve into the merits of the application. The application is struck out. The suspension order dated May 9th 2023 is vacated. The respondent may continue with the procurement,” the ruling further noted.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    MY MONEY

    Businessman Kabanda, KACITA Leadership In Trouble As Traders Accuse Them Of Using Their Problems To Seal Juicy Deals With City Landlords And M7…

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    KACITA's Thadeus Nagenda (L) and John Kabanda the Kampala New Generation Traders Association boss

    Thadeus Musoke Nagenda the chairperson of Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has declared that his association will not join the newly formed federation citing fraud and extortion.

    Musoke made the statements few weeks after controversial businessman John Kabanda of the Kampala New Generation Traders Association led a team of city traders to form a Federation named the Federation of Uganda Trade Association (FUTA ) and he was appointed the chairperson deputized by his friend Godfrey Katongole while Moses Lwegaba was appointed as publicity secretary.

    Former State minister for Trade Harriet Ntabazi was appointed as the patron of their federation which is set to open countrywide offices to assist traders to solve their problems.

    During the course of investigating this story, theGrapevine established that in Kampala city, there are more than seven traders associations and these are: Katukazane Shoe Dealers which brings together all traders dealing in shoes, Kampala Arcaders Advocacy Forum (KAFO), United Arcaders Traders Entrepreneurs Association (UATEA), Kampala New Generation Traders Association, Kampala Traders Association KATA), KACITA, Uganda Needy and Squatters Association, Kikuubo Business Community.

    According to Kabanda, all the said associations are supposed to be under his federation.

    However, Musoke’s KACITA, KAFO, UETEA declined to join the association because they did not participate in its formation.

    Musoke said that he cannot lead KACITA to join the new federation well knowing that its leader Kabanda is not a trader in Kampala city.

    He challenged him to prove by showing where his shop is located.

    He further explained that Kabanda is a known event and music promoter and he cannot be entrusted with traders’ issues to be handled with his team. Traders reveals to Grapevine that fellow members formed associations and federations to use it to seal deals with tycoons who are landlords owning city arcades and buildings where they operate from.

    “Their role is to incite us to demonstrate against the poor conditions we are operating from including paying high rent, paying money for using toilets, high taxes and when we placed the landlords on the wall by closing our shops, they invite our leaders in a closed door meetings, bribed them and came back when their tongues are changed speaking in different page with us, pleading with us to open our shops as negotiations proceeds and when you open nothing yielded,” a trader said.

    However Musoke explained that KACITA is currently the association that brings all traders in the country and they have over 20 associations which work under them while they are still in talks with others.

    Other traders accuse Kabanda of forming the federation to use it as a weapon in his ongoing drive to mobilize money for his coming introduction and wedding to his lovely wife.

    theGrapevine was told that traders were surprised when Kabanda decided to give his wedding budget to city landlords and one of them even offered to support him financially. Kabanda is of the view that once he gets married, his lifestyle will change and he will start handling issues respectively.

    Others claim that Kabanda has political ambitions to stand for a political office in Kampala city come 2026 and he wants to use his federation and the association to gather political support.

    theGrapevine also established that there is ongoing lobbying by city traders seeking to meet President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to discuss the problems the traders face during their operations and both Kabanda and KACITA are fighting to lead the traders to meet the President with each association fighting to be recognised as the umbrella of all traders.

    When contacted, Kabanda denied all the accusations explaining that city traders are tired of KACITA because their leadership is in bed with landlords who are mistreating them. He gave the example of Isa Ssekitto the KACITA spokesperson who is also the spokesperson of Bagagga Kwagalana association which brings together all tycoons in Kampala city.

    On the issue of not having a shop in the city, Kabanda rubbished the allegation and revealed that he owns a shop in BBC building a long Nabugabo which deals in open shoes nicknamed ‘Nigina’.

    Kabanda’s statements were supported by sources in Uganda Revenue Authority(URA) who told theGrapevine that KACITA leadership act like dealers who agree with URA over a matter on behalf of the traders but after, they turn against them and disassociate themselves from the matter agreed upon and incite traders to turn against URA.

    Edward Ntale the chairperson of UATEA revealed how traders’ association leaders enrich themselves through their associations.

    He gave the example of the money collected from traders as transport to be used when going for meetings with government officials on issues concerning their problems.

    Sulaiman Matovu, a trader dealing in shirts said that the problem they are facing is that all their association leaders want to take themselves as leaders of other associations and no one wants to listen to another which is hindering the way to solve their problems.

    The internal fighting among traders comes days after Kabanda through his federation declared a sit down strike which was expected to start on Monday next week.

    Kabanda asked all traders to close their shops to send a message to Museveni’s government that they have also joined the struggle to liberate this country after being worn out by the high taxes placed on their exports.

    He pleaded with fellow traders to avoid people telling them that they should not participate in the strike because of the coming Idi day festival because they will lose business when they close their shops.

    Kabanda advised them to buy all the goods which they will use on Idi day, insisting that they are in the struggle and they need to sacrifice to achieve what they want.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

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    CELEBRITY GOSSIP

    Top Lawyers, Court Bailiffs Cite Witchcraft After Buyers Shun Tycoon Hamid’s Pearl Of Africa Hotel…

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    Businessman Abdullatif Hamid

    For the second time now, city lawyers of MMAKS Advocates and ENS Africa Advocates instructed Armstrong Court Bailiffs and Auctioneers to do fresh advertisement inviting suitable buyers to participate in the auctioning of Aya hotel.

    “We shall proceed to sell the property below together with developments thereon by public auction pursuant to a warrant of Attachment and sale issued by the High Court of Uganda (Commercial Division) unless the judgment debtor pays to us the entire outstanding decretal sum (including interest) and our fees and costs before the fall of the hammer at the auction,” the advertisement in today’s daily read in part.

    The advert further explains that the property under attachment comprises a 5 Star Hotel situated at an altitude of 1240 meters above sea level making it one of the highest points with a 360 degrees view of Kampala city.

    The advert added that the hotel spans 32,000 square meters and comprises 23 floors, 296 rooms, 37 suites, 2 restaurants, 3 bars, 9 meeting rooms, 15th floor executive lounges and a business centre with all top class amenities. The said property is owned by Sudanese national Abdullatif Hamid, the Executive chairperson of Aya Investments Limited.

    The property under attachment is in LRV 3556 Folio 9 plots 7A1-9A1 & 10 Lugogo Road and plots M32, M183 & 2E Nakasero Hill Road Kampala measuring approximately 5.975 hectares.

    According to the advertisement, the second auctioning is expected to take place on 3rd May 2024 at the bailiff’s offices.

    When contacted, one of the lawyers at MMAKS Advocates reveals to theGrapevine that buyers have been inspecting the hotel but have not shown interest in buying it and it’s the reason they have instructed bailiffs to advertise the property for the second time.

    “That man must be a witch, I’m telling you, people have been coming but they are not committed to participating in the buying process,” a lawyer said.

    According to court documents, between 2007 and 2017, AYA secured Shs305bn from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), a South African lending company to construct Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala and was supposed to pay back the loan within ten years which he defaulted on.

    Hamid was dragged to the South African Tribunal and he did not defend himself which resulted in the judge Bruce Collins QC to issue a court order directing him to pay  Shs572bn which he challenged in Uganda Courts but he also lost the legal fight.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

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    MY MONEY

    Locals Celebrate As Stay In School Initiative Empowers Youths in Technical Skilling…

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    Lutakome (in a blue apron) interracting with parents during the meeting

    Locals in Busaana Town Council Kayunga District have celebrated the initiative spearheaded by Stay In School Initiative (SISI) a local Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which empowered youths in technical skills.

    The excitement was exhibited during the showcase meeting held on Saturday 16th March, 2024 at the Offices the Organisation in Busaana.

    The project beneficiaries were given the opportunity to show their parents and trainers the skills they had acquired.

    The students exhibited skills gained in tailoring and hairdressing in front of their parents, who were invited for a special meeting as a precursor to the graduation ceremony.

    Ivan Lutakome, the Organization founder told parents that the initiative was brought into their community with support from VOICE as a commitment to empower youths through providing vocational skills to help them to become good citizens in the future.

    The partnership between the SISI and VOICE has been instrumental in providing valuable opportunities to young individuals to acquire technical skills that are in high demand in today’s competitive job market.

    “I am grateful to VOICE for believing in us and providing the resources we needed to excel,” he said.

    He added that they organized the said interaction meeting where the benefiting youths demonstrated their newfound skills to ensure that their children are ready to be job creators.

    Parents and friends, community leaders gathered to witness firsthand results of the youths’ hard work and determination for the first time since the initiative started a few months back.

    “The Stay in School Initiative has given me a second chance at building a career,” a happy Harriet Kwagala, one of the beneficiaries said.

    “Learning tailoring skills has not only boosted my confidence but also opened doors to new opportunities for me,” Lutakome, another beneficiary highlighted the importance of vocational training in creating opportunities for youths and reducing unemployment rates in the country.

    “The dedication shown by these young individuals is truly commendable,” remarked Pastor Moses Mbago, a parent who attended the event.

    “I’m proud to see my daughter excelling in a field she’s passionate about.”

    The tailoring segment featured an array of beautifully crafted garments, showcasing the students’ proficiency in pattern-making, stitching, and finishing techniques. From traditional attire to modern designs, each piece reflected the creativity and attention to detail instilled during their training.

    “I never thought I could create such intricate designs,” exclaimed Nyombe Allan, another benefiting youth.

    “Thanks to the guidance and support from the Stay in School Initiative, I now have the skills to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer,” he added.

    The graduates also transformed women’s hair into stunning creations, ranging from intricate braids to elegance, showcasing their mastery of cutting, coloring, and styling techniques.

    “I have always had a passion for hairstyling, and this training has allowed me to turn that passion into a profession,” said Rose, who was beaming with happiness as she presented her work.

    Parents and attendees were visibly impressed by the quality of work presented, applauding the youths for their achievements and determination.

    “My son has found his calling in hairdressing, and I couldn’t be happier,” remarked Mr. Chemba Joel, a parent.

    It was evident that the Stay in School Initiative’s commitment to empowering youths through vocational training had made a tangible and meaningful impact on the lives of these youths, their families and the community as well.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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