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Kamoga Property Consultants in 20bn land scandal

Renowned city businessman, Muhammad Kamoga, the proprietor of the famous Kamoga property consultant is in trouble over Shs20bn land deal gone badly. Peter Bibangamba, through his lawyer Felix Kintu Nteza of Kintu Nteza and Company Advocates and F.X Ogwado and Company Advocates has filed a counterclaim suit in the High Court Land Division

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Renowned city businessman, Muhammad Kamoga, the proprietor of the famous Kamoga property consultant is in trouble over Shs20bn land deal gone badly. Peter Bibangamba, through his lawyer Felix Kintu Nteza of Kintu Nteza and Company Advocates and F.X Ogwado and Company Advocates has filed a counterclaim suit in the High Court Land Division Kampala accusing Kamoga of fraudulently transferring his land registered on Busiro Block 435 plot 8, 10, 11 and 96 measuring 250 acres situated at Bukaya, Wakiso district along showers of lake Victoria. In his affidavit, Bibangamba alleges that in July 2020 he entered into an agreement and gave powers of Attorney to Kamoga to administer his land on his behalf where he was supposed to open boundaries of the whole land and ascertain the persons physically on the land. He stated that Kamoga was supposed to negotiate and settle after getting his consent as the landlord with the occupants with the view of regularizing their occupancy through purchase. Kamoga was supposed to remove and prosecute all occupants who refused to regularize their occupancy of the land in an amicable manner. He was given powers to institute and file both criminal and civil proceedings in Court for purposes of recovering the said land on behalf of the landlord. Kamoga was given powers to negotiate with occupants and to transmit any such documents to the landlord to effect the transfer. Bibangamba told Court that on 22nd of May, 2021, he revoked the powers of Attorney earlier given to Kamoga after learning that the latter was acting outside the scope of the express powers. He alleges that Kamoga subdivided his land fraudulently and by using a single transfer instrument he transferred over 23 plots at one single transaction with a single instrument number. “He purported titles to himself of the 35% of the counterclaimant’s land whereas the memorandum of understanding provides for 35% of the proceeds of the land. He alleges that he had finished the work he was assigned to do yet he has neither furnished an audit report nor introduced a single occupant on the counterclaimant’s land for purposes of effecting transfer as stipulated in the powers of Attorney,” Bibangamba’s affidavit reads. He asks the Court to direct Kamoga to compensate him for the loss of his land unlawfully sold to the third parties through a comprehensive audit and valuation report. “The counterclaimant has commissioned a valuation of all the plots fraudulently sold to the third parties. The valuation report shall be produced at the trial in further proof of the special damages which exceeds Shs20bn,” the affidavit further reads. Among the plots Kamoga reportedly transferred fraudulently include plots 354, 348, 349 transferred into the names of Buyinza Yokana; plot 235 sold to Nakitto Norah; plot 214 sold to Kabarigira John; plots 198, 193, 191 sold to Birungi Edson Ricky; plots 480, 481 sold to Seremba Mugera Fred; plot 215 sold to Bayita Frank Kagina; plot 225 sold to Walugembe Tonny Salongo; plot 228 sold to Kizito George William; plot 343 sold to Luswata Roger; plot 211, 212 sold to Kato Kaleebi; and plots 462, 463 sold to Nabanja Shamim Birungi. However in his defense, Kamoga insists that the counterclaimant has violated the powers of Attorney given to him since he has finished all the work given to him to execute on the said land.

Business

Malawi President vows not to pay ransom to passport system hackers

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Malawi’s government is not issuing passports, President Lazarus Chakwera said, claiming it is because of a cyberattack. But some observers question whether such an attack occurred.

Chakwera told parliament on Wednesday that a cyberattack had compromised the country’s security and that measures were in place to identify and apprehend the attackers. He said the attackers were demanding millions in ransom but his administration will not pay it.

He said the hackers have prevented the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services system from printing passports for the past three weeks. However, the immigration department stopped printing passports weeks ago, after it announced in January it was grappling with technical glitches.

The situation has left hundreds of passport applicants stranded. Rights groups have vowed to hold mass demonstrations if the glitch isn’t resolved within days. Then on Wednesday, Chakwera told parliament the suspension was caused by what he called digital mercenaries who had hacked the system responsible for printing passports.

“This is a serious national security breach,” he said, “and although Malawi is not the first in the modern world to be the target of and suffer this kind of cyberattack, we have taken very decisive steps to regain control of the situation.”

Chakwera, who has been president since June 2020, said on Wednesday that he has given the immigration department three weeks to provide a temporary solution and resume the printing of passports. At the same event, he said he had told the hackers never to expect ransom from the Malawi government.

“As long as I am the president, the government will never pay the ransom money you have demanded after hacking the system,” he said, “because we are not in the business of appeasing criminals with public money, nor are we in the business of negotiating with those who attack our country.”

Malawi has faced passport issuance challenges since 2021, when the government terminated its contract with Techno Brain, which had been the supplier of Malawi’s passports since 2019.

In 2023, the government, unable to find a replacement, re-engaged the company on a temporary basis. Still, the immigration department had to scale down production many times because of a shortage of materials or failure to pay outstanding bills.

Sylvester Namiwa is the executive director of the Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives, whose organization is vowing to hold protests if the situation isn’t resolved within days. He said that he doubted the veracity of Chakwera’s statement on the hacking of the system.

The president “should have revealed the identities of the hackers” and could have said more about how communications with the alleged hackers are occurring — “for example, if they are using computers, if they are using phones,” Namiwa said. “Today’s technology is easy to trace.”

Namiwa pointed to reports circulating on social media and a local radio station suggesting that the contractor, Techno Brain, had deliberately shut down the system after noticing improper activity by suspected government agents. According to local media reports, Techno Brain is demanding millions of dollars in compensation from the Malawi government before it unblocks the system.

When approached for comment, Tiwonge Chipeta, general manager for Techno Brain in Malawi, would not deny or confirm the company’s alleged involvement in the shutdown, saying she could not speak with reporters about the matter.

However, some IT experts working with government agencies, who refused to give their names for fear of reprisals, said that no hackers had demanded any ransom from the government.

Security expert Sheriff Kaisi told VOA that if the passport system had indeed been hacked, Malawi’s government needed to ensure its software has since been made hacker-proof.

“There could be some lapses here and there, but every system by nature would have other software to encounter that,” Kaisi said. “And of course the system used by the government needs to be sophisticated.”

Malawi Information minister Moses Nkukuyu told a local radio station Thursday that the information Chakwera presented in parliament came from experts working at the immigration department. Immigration department spokesperson Wellington Chiponde did not respond to calls and texts from VOA.

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Business

First Lady Janet hails Hamis Kiggundu.

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Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon Janet Kataaha Museveni has hailed businessman, Hamis Kiggundu for the redevelopment of Nakivubo Stadium to meet modern standards.

Mr Museveni who on Tuesday, February 20, paid a courtesy visit at the stadium premises in Nakivubo, was left impressed by the world-class facilities at the stadium which is one of the selected venues for Uganda in hosting the AFCON 2027.

“The NRM government is very proud to see the example of our young people beginning to build Uganda by putting up projects such as this one. We congratulate Ham Kiggundu for this excellent job,” Mrs Museveni said as she appreciated first-hand how the rebuilt facility looks like especially inside.

During the Tuesday tour, Hon Janet was taken around the over $ US200 million investment by the young developer tycoon Ham Kiggundu who has delivered a new excellent world-class sporting facility at the Nakivubo War Memorial Grounds.

The renovation project, spearheaded by the businessman, has made significant progress in transforming the stadium into a state-of-the-art sports facility, with the stadium’s official reopening slated for early 2024.

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Uganda moves a step closer to a domestic oil refinery.

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Uganda has taken a step forward, once again, to restore its interest to have a domestic refinery in place as part of the overall plan to maximize the benefits of the oil and gas sector.

The new players are a UAE-led consortium associated with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai royal family. The firm known, as Alpha MBM, is an investment vehicle, part of the MBM family of investments listed also as private interest of the Royal Family.

Alpha MBM is in consortium for the refinery project with two companies with extensive oil and gas experience. They are SKA Energy, a sub-division of the SKA International Group, an Iraq-based operator. SKA’s business is in construction, fuel supply and logistics as well as refining and petrochemicals.

While Alpha MBM will be the primary source of investment capital, it is SKA’s construction and oil marketing experience that will form the commercial block of the consortium. Lastly is SPEC energy, a fairly well-known oil and gas integrated firm with a presence in the Middle East.

SPEC for the Uganda refinery project is presenting its operated refinery projects at four locations (Slemani, Iraq, Al Barham in Kirkuk, San Company refinery in Rajaf and Kyber refinery in Pakistan as well as other projects).

Presently, the refinery consortium is in expedited negotiations with the government of Uganda. The negotiations are time-sensitive because crude production is set to begin next year and project work on the East African Crude oil pipeline (EACOP) is further ahead. The EACOP company is finalizing its financing with its primary lenders which is expected to be concluded by May 2024.

The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and the ministry of Energy intend to bring the refinery agreements firmly into place around the same time. To this end, the senior agreements for the refinery, namely an Implementation Agreement and a Crude Supply Agreement, are being negotiated.

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