By Exposed Uganda
Equity Bank Bosses who include Samuel Kirubi, the Managing Director and Antony Kituuka, the Executive Director, are in deep trouble for illegally pocketing Sudhir Ruparelia’s Billions in the Sham Simbamanyo House auctioning and are now plotting to grab more of architect Peter Kamya’s property.
Recently, these Equity Bank bosses have come under fire again for not only illegally and fraudulently selling off Simbamanyo House and other properties, but also refusing to remit the balance of the funds they received from Sudhir Ruparelia and Ronald Luwangula aka Luwaluwa, who purportedly bought the properties.
This money amounts to US$3million (the difference between the reserve price and amount of US$ 5m declared) This was shared between the Equity Bank bosses.
It should be noted that Equity bank purportedly auctioned Simbamanyo House, which is worth over US$12.5m and which, according to Ms Nakiggudde the bank officer who was in charge of the sale process, had a reserve price tag of US$8m to Sudhir for a declared amount of US$5m in a bid to recover an unpaid loan of USD10m which he had borrowed from Bank One, which in itself is the subject of a dispute in the courts.
This has since raised a lot of queries especially amongst the public and Simbamanyo’s lawyers of Muwema And Co. Advocates who wonder why, if officials at Equity Bank didn’t have ulterior motives, why they entered into such a dubious deal with Sudhir to the detriment of a local investor, Kamya, who had been their client for decades.
Besides that, the lawyers argue that the same bank should have given Simbamanyo an opportunity to sell the property by private treaty i.e, look for a neutral buyer who would have acted transparently to purchase at a more realistic price of the property such that even if the Equity Bank offset the loan, he (Kamya) would have remained with the balance.
Besides Simbamanyo House, the same bank also auctioned Kamya’s Afrique Suites Hotel, with a reserve price tag of US$ 6million located in Mutungo, a city suburb, to one Ronald Luwangula a Supreme Court Clerk aka Luwaluwa at $4,350,000 claiming he had also staked the same as security for the defaulted loan. Simbamanyo lawyers are asking where the difference of US$1.650m is.
On 8th October 2020, the day of the alleged auction, LuwaLuwa purportedly executed a Purchase Agreement with Equity Bank as the successful bidder and in clause 2.1 of the agreement Luwaluwa was granted fourteen  days within which to pay the purchase price, contrary to auction regulations that require that at least 30% be paid at the fall of the hammer.
However, in contradiction of the above agreement and in connivance and collusion with Equity Bank, Luwaluwa purportedly executed an Internal Funds Transfer where it purportedly paid USD 4,350,000/= immediately and in lumpsum on the same day.
It looks like this is again part of the money that was loaned to Luwaluwa.
The lawyers thus contend that when Equity Bank reportedly auctioned Simbamanyo House to Sudhir and Afrique Suites to Luwaluwa, under normal situations they would have acted with due diligence by deducting the loan balance from the proceeds the auction and surrender the rest to Kamya but they didn’t. They just shared it amongst themselves.
As if that was not enough, the same bank never gave Kamya, as the borrower whose property had been distressed, an opportunity to be part of the transaction.
They instead went behind his back and through their lawyers of Sim Katende and Frederick Mpanga, clandestinely sold his properties to Sudhir and Luwaluwa for a sum much lower than what they received.
Acting in the same breath of impunity, the Equity Bank officials also never allowed Kamya to be part of the details pertaining to the alleged auction. It should not have been necessary to sell both properties if the sale had been done transparently without using underhand methods.
OTHER EQUITY BANK SCAMS
Before that in 2006, when Simbamanyo ran into some difficulties with the loan due to the bank’s unlawful debiting of the loan account with fabricated and unexplained amounts leading to the accumulation of colossal arrears, Equity Bank came up with what turned out to be a scam! That Arc Peter Kamya sells his land at Munyonyo and uses the proceeds to clear the accumulated arrears and also reduce on the loan.
The Bank subsequently brokered a deal with some Eritrean investors, the Bahamas Group, to buy the land for UGX 5.5 billion
Equity bank supposedly offered Bahamas a loan to buy the land and the Eritreans were requested to put down a deposit equivalent to 40% ie UGX 1.3 billion.
The Bahamas Group paid the bank to clear the accumulated arrears. But unfortunately, when Equity bank received the money, they negated on the purported loan and left Kamya and the Eritreans to tussle it out in court as to whether there was a loan or not as they Equity Bank look on because they (Equity Bank) never signed anything either with Kamya or the Eritreans!
In fact, there had never been any loan. Equity Bank just wanted to balance their books.
Equity bank has persistently failed to act with objectivity, reliability and transparency to their customers as required and provided by the Bank of Uganda Financial Consumer Protection Guidelines 2011 and continues these illicit and predatory malpractices and scams to their advantage but to the detriment of their clients.
For instance, again in December 2017, Equity Bank brokered a deal with a foreign bank to lend US$ 10m far in excess of the US$ 7.195,877, Simbamanyo owed them (Equity Bank).
The decision to borrow an amount far in excess of the US$ 7.195,877 outstanding debt was dictated and influenced by the Equity Bank lenders, with the understanding that Simbamanyo would use the difference US$ 2.9m to complete its hotel project at Mutungo.
Scarcely did Simbamanyo know that this was a poisoned chalice, largely meant to benefit the lenders and their brokers to the detriment of the borrower, Simbamanyo
Equity Bank received the full loan amount of US$.10 m under the foreign Loan and paid themselves US$ 8.106,353m which was far in excess of the US$ 7.195,877 outstanding debt with them plus an additional US$ 1.202,239 m which they claimed to be brokerage charges and other loan fees.
Simbamanyo only got a paltry US$ 500.000 (five hundred thousand) instead of the agreed US$2.9m out of the total loan of US$10m. The rest went to Equity Bank and its cronies!!
This scam is now the subject HCCS No 198/2020 where in Simbamanyo is suing Equity Bank for false accounting, breach of its fiduciary duty to its client and engaging in predatory practices.
These scams, illicit activities , underhand methods and predatory practices. have caused the departure , in succession, of the Legal Managers at Equity ie one Edward Ocen and A. Kiwalabye Kimanje because they were not willing to continue being part of these scams and illicit activities anymore.
Recently there has been an outcry by members of the public whose money has been withdrawn from their accounts without their knowledge.
Equity Bank continues to use underhand and fraudulent methods to sell off people’s properties without following the proper procedures.
For instance, Equity Bank recently sold a school belonging to the former Luwero LC 5 chairman one Ndaula without following due process and in utter disregard of the Presidential Directive to Banks not to foreclose on peoples loans during this Covid Pandemic. Mr Ndaula has petitioned the regulator BOU.
Clearly the Regulator needs to step in and scrutinize the activities of Equity Bank which seem destined to cripple and or destroy local businesses and enterprises.
A few years ago, there was an outcry that Crane bank was cheating its customers and engaging in illicit and predatory practices but the Regulator looked the other way.
By the time they realized what was going on it was too late. The owners of the bank had salted away over US$ 90m and they are now using the courts to evade justice!!! Are they waiting for the same to happen to Equity Bank?