Property mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia has protested the move by Parliament to investigate how he acquired a property in the city even when the High Court ruled that he genuinely acquired it.
The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) is currently investigating suspected fraud syndicate in acquisition of 460 Departed Asians Properties.
Officials from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board have listed Plot 24 on Kampala Road, which belongs to Meera Investments Limited, as part of the properties suspected to have been wrongly acquired.
In his August 14 petition to the Speaker, the Ruparelia Group Chairman says inclusion of plot 24 Kampala Road is contempt of Court because the matter was conclusively handled.
“We have followed part of the ongoing Cosase inquiry regarding Departed Asians properties Custodian through televised and print media. A property that belongs to Meera Investment Limited has been mentioned as part of the inquiry,” he said.
“Cosase is now inquiring into a matter and ownership decided upon by the High Court in 2012. We are seeking clarification and guidance from you whether Parliament can inquire into a matter where a decision of court has been made or where a matter is in court. Then whenever matters in court come to an end, parties can come to parliament for another decision.”
Sudhir now is seeking clarification and guidance from the Speaker whether Parliament can inquire into a matter where decision of Court has been made or when a matter is in Court .
“Then whenever matters in court come to an end , parties can come to Parliament for another decision We shall be grateful for our guidance.”
On December 20, 2012, Justice Joseph Murangira at the High Court at Kampala Land Division declared Sudhir under his Meera Investment Limited as the rightful owner of the land.
Prior, DAPCB had taken a decision that Sudhir was not the the owner of Plot 24 Kampala Road thus stopping him from developing the land in question.
The decision forced Sudhir through his by then lawyers Nangwala, Rezida & Co. Advocates to run to Court asking it to quash the decisions that had been taken by DAPCB.
In his ruling, Justice Murangira said Sudhir/Meera Investment was in possession of the property since 1994 when he purchased it until it was subjected to the repossession process of properties that were expropriated when Asians were expelled from Uganda in 1972.
“Meera Investment approached the former owners (Rameshchandra Bhowan Kataria and the late Kershavlal Premchard Shah) before they were granted a certificate of repossession and they agreed to sell their estate and interest that is the property. Indeed they sold and transferred to Meera,” the Judge said.
He further said DAPCB expressly recognized Meera Investment’s intention to purchase the property from the former owners before repossession.
“This is reflected in the respondent’s letter dated January 5, 1995 (repossession certificate is dated March 31, 1995) signed by Mr Sam S. Male who has now made a u-turn in the respondent’s affidavit in reply.”
“The above stated facts were not challenged by the respondents in his affidavit in reply to the application. The facts therefore are taken to have been admitted by the respondents.”
In conclusion, Justice Murangira ruled that the decision by DAPCB to the effect that Meera Investment was not the owner of the land comprised in Freehold Register volume 1082 Folio 1 plot 24 Kampala Road was made and created ‘without jurisdiction, irregularly: Unlawfully, illegally and therefore it is declared a nullity’.
“The applicant[Meera Investment] is the lawful owner of the land comprised in Freehold Register volume 1082 Folio 1 Plot 24 Kampala Road.
‘The respondents shall pay the costs of this application to the applicant.”