Uganda is never short of people coming up to stop or delay a major project.
News reaching our desk is that businessman Sudhir Ruparelia may wait longer to start construction of the multi billion hotel in Entebbe after a lawyer by the name Peter Musoke Gukiina came out to claim part of the land where the planned facility will be erected.
Gukiina has run to court asking that Sudhir is stopped developing the land.
Early this week, the property magnate unveiled plans to construct a five star hotel worth Shs336 billion on the 20-acre land that also covers the contested piece which is situated in Kongero, Wakiso district just adjacent to Ssese Gateway Beach.
However Mr Gukiina has run to the High Court’s Land Division through his lawyers C/o Kaddu and Partners Advocates claiming that he is the rightful owner of the contested land (kibanja) measuring approximately 1.287 acres on part of the land described as Busiro Block 443 Plots 49,52,74,75 and 76. The land he claims is however already registered in the names of Speke Hotel Limited. The company is said to be owned by Mr Sudhir Ruparelia.
Gukiina wants Court to order Sudhir to vacate the land as well as issue a permanent injunction restraining him from developing it.
Nonetheless, Sudhir through his lawyers M.s Walusimbi & Co. Advocates has dismissed Gukiina’s allegations, and has lodged a counter suit. Walusimbi advocates also told court that Gukiina filled a case against a non-existent party (Speke Hotel Limited) instead of Speke Hotel (1996) Limited.
It also turns out that the complainant has never owned a kibanja holding extending to land comprised in Busiro block 443 Plots 52, 74,75 and 76.
“Speke Hotel (1996) Limited and Gukiina are the registered proprietors of land comprised in Busiro Block 443 Plot 75 and 374 and Busiro Block 443 Plot 50 neighboring each other,” stated Sudhir’s lawyers adding that the property mogul has never sanctioned any threats, destruction or violence to Gukiina as he claims.
In a counter claim, the businessman has instead accused the former Makerere University Don of trespass on his land and with impunity causing destruction, confiscation of building materials including one such action performed on November 3, 2018 where he raided with police personnel and arrested four of his (Sudhir) builders without warrant.
“The counter defendant (Gukiina) also erected a fence at the boundary of his land and that of the counter claimant (Speke Hotel) touching the shoreline wherein he annexed a portion of the counter claimant land for his benefit.
“The counter defendant’s actions constitute illegality that should be shunned by this honourable court.”
Sudhir also alleges that Gukiina brought the case in bad faith and that he wants to stop the construction of his multi-billion hotel for fear of competition since they operate similar businesses.
The lawyers say their client(s) will ask court to dismiss the case with costs because the complainant’s suit and prior actions depict selfish interests.
Dr Gukiina is not new to controversy, in 2016 he was accused by National environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Ministry of Water and fisheries for degrading Lake Victoria in by “reclaiming and depositing soil and gravel along the entire shoreline” which impacted greatly on the lake water quality.