Kisenyi-based businessman Haruna Sentongo who was recently ordered to pay Orient bank debts in excess of UGX 10 Billion has surprised netizens after using his official Twitter channel to unexpectedly sale off his brother’s properties that include the White House and Nakivubo Stadium.
It should be noted that whereas the White House is the official headquarters for Ham Group of Companies including Ham Agro-Processing Industries, it is surrounded by warehouses recently visited by Ministers Matia Kasaija and Evelyn Anite who commended the young billionaire for the patriotic efforts and determination to develop Uganda.
Nakivubo Stadium is owned by the Ugandan government, but under a sole redevelopment by certified billionaire Hamis Kiggundu according to Billionaires.Africa and other social networks.
Shockingly, Haruna posted a photo collage with all his brother’s famous projects and reported them to be for sale at affordable rates, which sparked off fire among the Ugandan netizens who have been jubilating about the current progress of the Stadium.
Many are wondering how a certified billionaire who just donated UGX100 million on a wedding can put all his properties including the company head offices and a State-owned National stadium on sale.
Homes for sale at a good a price in akright entebe road call +256 776 141589 pic.twitter.com/Gs2dMRNlwR
— Sentongo Haruna (@Sentongoharun) April 10, 2023
Shocked Netizens were left wondering whether Sentongo is now broke to the Born Marrow and others wondering what could’ve let the desperate self-proclaimed tycoon want to sell off his brother’s property.
Some Social Media Responses To Haruna’s Tweet
Genesis of Haruna’s Problems
It should be remembered that in December last year, the Commercial Division of the High Court ordered businessman Haruna Sentongo to repay Orient Bank, now I&M Bank, Shs10.38b worth of mortgages.
In a December 23 ruling by Justice Richard Wejuli Wabwire, the court also awarded Orient Shs150m in damages and interest of above 22 per cent from the date of default until payment.
The ruling stemmed from two separate civil suits of 2018 and 2019, in which Mr Sentongo and Orient had filed against each other with respect to credit facilities extended to Mr Sentongo in 2015, to finance the development and completion of a commercial property known as Nakayiza Mall and another credit facility to finance the importation of garments.
However, in seeking to resolve the real issue efficiently, the court directed that the two applications be consolidated.
Court documents indicate that Mr Sentongo had accused Orient of extortion, duress, undue influence, and dishonesty, among others, for contracting him into credit facilities with unfair and unclear terms and conditions to unjustly enrich itself at his expense.
“The conduct of [Orient] … complicated [Mr Sentongo] performance and exposed him to excessive loss of income, the risk to exposure, psychological torture and mental anguish,” the documents read in part.
Therefore, Mr Sentongo had sought a number of remedies, among which included special damages of Shs500m for loss of business and rental income from February 2016 to date, and dismissal of Orient’s claims.
Mr Sentongo also argued that Orient was not entitled to recover any money from him on account that it had failed to prove its case at trial.
However, in its defence, Orient, through Mr Ronald Oine, argued that since May 2015 it had extended various credit facilities to Mr Sentongo, all of which were defaulted on before he asked that they be consolidated.
The consolidation returned a combined default position of Shs9.69b in addition to an overdrawn account to the tune of Shs184.9m, which amount continued to accrue interest, cumulating into an unpaid sum of Shs10.38b.
Orient also accused Mr Sentongo of diverting funds meant for developing Nakayiza Mall without notifying the bank yet he had mortgaged proceeds from the rent of the property as part of a repayment plan.
Court documents also indicated that even after the credit facilities had been merged, Mr Sentongo continued to default thus prompting the bank to issue demand notices, which were ignored.
Orient thus issued a notice of sale of the mortgaged properties but court documents indicate that Mr Sentongo sought permission to sell part of his properties to rectify the default position.
Orient granted Mr Sentongo permission, before selling part of the property for $700,000, of which $600,000, as had been agreed, would go to loan repayment with subsequent recoveries conducted in due course.
However, Mr Sentongo once again fell into default, which prompted Orient to advertise mortgaged properties for onward recovery of Shs10.38b, general damages and costs.
In his ruling Justice Wabwire indicated that he had weighed all submissions from both parties, noting that after a careful review, he had arrived at the conclusion that Orient was entitled to the remedies it had sought.
Dismissed Mr Sentongo case
Therefore, Justice Wabwire noted, Orient was right to seek damages given that it had been subjected to longer periods of non-repayment.
“The plaintiff, Mr Sentongo is indebted to the defendant, Orient Bank, in the sum of [Shs10,38b]. The plaintiff is directed to repay the entire sum,” he ruled, noting that Orient had suffered economic strangulation, and commercial distress, among others.
Justice Wabwire also dismissed Mr Sentongo’s case against Orient and awarded the bank interest on the outstanding sum of Shs10.38m and costs of the suit, among other remedies.
Sentongo’s Collapsed building had no approved plan – KCCA
In September 2021, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) said the owner of the building on Kisenyi Road, [Haruna Sentongo] which collapsed on a fateful Sunday afternoon, killing at least six people and injuring three others, did not have any approved plans.
KCCA said Sentongo had defied their physical planning directive and continued building despite warnings.
Letters this newspaper saw read that on June 30, KCCA’s physical planner for Central Division Villey Agaba wrote a notice to Mr Ssentongo, (the owner of the building) asking him to “immediately halt all ongoing works and provide me with a valid approved plan, name of inspector and hoarding permits”.
However, Mr Ssentongo reportedly defied KCCA and continued with construction works.
NWSC Water Theft
Also, In 2016, Field staff of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) unearthed water theft by Haruna Sentongo.
The staff found an illegal water connection at his Shopping Arcade which was under construction and shamed the self-proclaimed tycoon.