City tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia has acquired Simbamanyo House—located at Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue after he emerged the highest bidder in Equity Bank mortgage process.
All tenants have been notified about the changes in ownership at the property that had been mortgaged by their former landlord with Equity Bank Ltd.
“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,” Equity Bank wrote in a notice to tenants on Friday October 9.
“The new owners will get in touch with all tenants individually to work out the modalities for the ownership transition. We trust you 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,” the Bank added.
In a separate notice dated October 8, CL Risk Management Service acting on orders of Equity Bank Limited also informed tenants that the property had been sold to Meera Investments Limited thus making them “your new landlord”.
“Nobody else whether Simbamanyo Estates Limited, Peter Kamya or any other person claiming through them has any power or authority over the said property. Anybody else who purports to deal with said property in any manner inconsistent with that of Meera Investments Limited commits an offense and liable for legal sanction”.
The property will be under Meera Investments Limited, a real estate arm of Ruparelia Group owned by Sudhir.
Equity Bank, acting through Katende Ssempebwa & Co Advocate and AF Mpanga, Advocates, had earlier noted it would after October 7 proceed to sell properties contained in plots on Lumumba Avenue and Mutungo-Luzira, both within Kampala if Simbamanyo Estates fails to pay UGX11.5 billion.
In a notice published on September 7 in the Daily Monitor, Equity Bank said Simbamanyo had until October 7 within which it must pay at least 30 per cent of the disputed UGX38.6 billion, failure of which it will proceed to sell properties against which the money was advanced.
Simbamanyo had at the close of August put a caveat on the disputed properties, noting Equity Bank was trying to upstage the court process in which it is challenging the sum in dispute and the legality of loans drawn from the mother bank, Equity Bank Kenya.
Simbamanyo is embroiled in a property dispute with Equity Bank Uganda and Equity Bank Kenya resulting from unpaid loans that had been advance to the real estate company.
According to court documents filed in the Commercial Division of the High Court, on August 20, 2012, Equity Bank Kenya and Equity Bank Uganda entered into a loan agreement in which the two banks agreed to advanced Simbamanyo with $6m.
The loans, which would make up a consolidate sum of $8.10m (UGX29.83b) including interest and operational fees, among others, sought to finance the construction of Afrique Suites Hotel in Mutungo, Luzira north east of Kampala and facilitate the takeover of a prior facility advanced to Simbamanyo by Shelter Afrique.
The two banks, details indicate, pooled money together with at least $3.5m drawn from Equity Bank Kenya and $2.5m from Equity Bank Uganda.
However, in its defense, Equity indicates that Sambamanyo benefited and was aware of every financial transaction that was advanced to it.
Equity also argues that Bank One, based in Mauritius, was drafted into the transaction on the request of Simbamanyo, which had sought to obtain bridge financing of up to $10m.
Court documents indicate that Simbamanyo Estates had sought to offset the outstanding sum in a November 16, 2017 letter to Mr Samuel Kirubi of Equity Bank Group Kenya.