Kampala, Uganda | DAILYNEWS UG |: MOVIT Supremo, Mr. Birungi Simpson is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Movit Products Limited, a leading cosmetics manufacturing company in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mr. Simpson Birungi has of late been in the news over negative press. Communication has been made with his camp and here is the story.
Above: Billionaire Industrialist Simpson Birungi in his office recently
Back in 2013, Movit Products boss Simpson Birungi was going about his work when he was approached by a one Moses Lumu.
Lumu was accompanied by a one Geoffrey Nkonge and their lawyer Sam Wandera of Sam Kiwanuka & Co Advocates.
The trio offered land comprised in Mawokota Block 415 Plots 34 & 35 at Lwera for Birungi’s acquisition.
Birungi was interested in buying the land for her sister Janet Tumuhimbise for growing fruits to supply a beverages company her had started called Real Beverages.
Birungi dispatched his staff to carry out due diligence before he could enter any form of transaction to purchase the piece of land measuring 393 acres.
The lawyers discovered that Lumu and Nkonge were mere allocates of the land and had to process and perfect a title in their favour.
Nevertheless, an agreement of sale of land was signed on May 24, 2013. It was agreed that Birungi would pay Shs 275m for the land located in Lwera, Masaka on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Lumu and Nkonge agreed to sell the present and future interests in the property to Birungi.
However, the consideration would only become payable to Lumu upon completion and release of titles to the property and the duly signed transfer forms.
As a purchaser, Birungi would as well for the purposes of facilitating the due process of obtaining deed prints to the plots, carrying out of the necessary surveys, perfection and release of the title deeds to the property as well as ensuring that the vendors obtain the said titles, pay an additional Shs 40m referred to as “facilitation fee.”
This facilitation fee was supposed to be payable in two installments of Shs 20m to Lumu’s nominated official Nicodemus Sitenda Magulu.
The first installment of Shs 20m was to be paid upon execution of this agreement while the balance would be paid as and when the title processing and perfection progressed.
This transaction would pave way for the handover of the certificate of title and duly signed transfer forms and avail Birungi with vacant and undisputed possession of the property.
At the execution of the sale agreement, Shs 20m was advanced to Lumu and Nkonge to facilitate the titling process. According to documents, the sellers confirmed receipt of the amount of money advanced to them by Birungi.
It appeared to all that the transaction would be concluded without any hindrance. Little did Birungi know he would five years later face off with Lumu in a high stakes public interest case.
Eventually, the sellers and their lawyer presented a title to the land to Birungi who upon engaging his surveyor Zimula Mugwanya discovered that the land was falling n a wetland and therefore was unavailable for development.
Birungi subsequently lost interest in the transaction and requested to be refunded Shs 20m deposit made on the aborted sale.
Hell broke loose with Lumu and Nkonge falling short of refunding the deposit.
With advice from their lawyer, Lumu and Nkonge issued a demand notice for Birungi’s specific performance of the contract.
In one of the demand notices, Lumu and Nkonge said to their “dismay, after availing the purchaser with Photostat copies of the titles and showing their willingness to release titles to the property and duly signed transfers to you, you refused or neglected to pay the purchase price as per the sales agreement.”
Lumu and Nkonge confirmed that indeed Birungi and Janet Tumuhimbise informed them that the land had issues.
They further said they personally decided to go with Birungi’s surveyor, Mugwanya, to settle issues complained of.
While Birungi visited the area, he was not convinced the purchase would not attract the wrath of environment protection groups. He chose to stay away from the land.
But Lumu and Nkonge continued to demand for the balance of Shs 275m or failure to honour their demands would “leave us without any option to fully confirm that you have breached the agreement of sale and our clients are free to deal with their land in a manner suitable to them.”
Just like any other bad deal, Birungi chose to let go.
But one of the players in the aborted deal would later play another role that threatens to destabilize multi-billion dollar investment – Movit Products Ltd.
The company whose distribution lines stretch as far as Tanzania, Eastern Congo and Zambia, employs about 3,000 people.
But its reputation is in the spotlight over allegations that its proprietor Birungi sponsored the torching of a dormitory school at Buddo Junior School in which 19 kids died.
It’s alleged that Birungi intended to expand his factory at Zana -Bunamwaya off Entebbe Road and needed more land.
But there was Berkeley High School structures owned by three people – William Kayongo (headmaster Buddo Junior School), George William Ssemivule and Edith Namusisi Nabugo.
It’s alleged that while other owners were willing to relocate, Kayongo remained adamant.
The rumours indicated that Birungi decided to hire Lumu among others to burn a dormitory of Buddo Junior School to cause Kayongo problems so that he could eventually give in and allow the sale of Berkeley School.
Videos have since been circulated on digital media showing Lumu confessing to burning Buddo Junior School on Birungi’s orders. Lumu also claimed they bought petrol from a fuel station in Bunamwaya to torch the school.
This kicked off a fresh investigation by the Ministry of Security during the short-lived reign of Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.
According to documents at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Movit Products “got to learn of the availability of the school through newspaper adverts that were made by MMAKS Advocates on behalf of Barclays Bank.”
The advert dated Thursday May, 29, 2008 shows Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs saying they had been instructed by MMAKS to advertise Kyadondo Block 265 at Bunamwaya registered in the name of Berkeley Education Enterprises.
Another Block 265 registered in the name of William Kayongo Sebuliba measuring 2.5 acres was also advertised in the same advert. The developments on the land included classrooms blocks, offices, library, laboratory and dormitories used by Berkeley Mixed Senior Secondary School.
Additionally, Kayongo’s other property on Mengo Block 261 registered in Kayongo’s name and measuring 0.573 acres was also put up for sale. This property had an incomplete classroom block and small administration building used for residential purposes.
It’s understood Kayongo had acquired loans worth over Shs 1bn from Barclays Bank for expansion which explains why his personal property was being auctioned.
Upon seeing the adverts, according to information by Birungi to the Justice Ministry, Movit Products approached Barclays Bank and submitted its bid for the purchase of the property and an agreement was reached and executed.
After full payment by Movit, the property was transferred into his names and possession availed to it.
“The allegation that Lumu was an employee of Movit Products Limited is false,” said Birungi’s lawyers in a communication to Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana.
Birungi was in 2017 contacted by a journalist saying he had been approached by people who alleged that the Movit boss had hired them to Buddo Junior School.
The journalist proposed that Birungi meets the said people to hear his side of the story, a piece of advice the former adhered to. Birungi would later meet with Lumu at Kabira Country Club, Bukoto. It was during this meeting that Birungi recalled about the bad Lwera Land deal in which Lumu was involved.
It’s understood Birungi expressed shock during the meeting and promised to provide all documents including agreements showing transactions for the acquisition of Berkeley School.
Birungi met with the journalist and one Ivan Muleefu at Pope Paul Memorial Centre where the Movit boss showed the parties copies of the agreements.
The Justice Ministry was informed that Ivan later called Birungi and disclosed the interests of Lumu in making the “false allegations as being that Birungi abandons the advanced Shs 20m on the aborted Lwera land sale and to be allowed to sell the land to any other interested person.”
An investigator told us that Birungi wanted closure to protect his company’s brand by letting go of Shs 20m which he was not even pursuing.
Birungi asked his lawyers of KMT to draft an MoU in respect of the requests made by Moses Lumu in order for him to stop the “unfounded” and “malicious allegations” he was making. The document was duly signed by all parties.
Two months later, Security Ministry Chief of Staff only identified as Aine summoned Birungi who provided his side of the story in regard to the acquisition of Berkeley School and burning of Buddo Junior School.
Aine promised to investigate the matter and revert to Birungi which he didn’t.
Later on, Birungi was summoned by Patrick Kubayo (Military Assistant, Ministry of Security) on the same allegations and said he also had been asked to investigate the matter. Kubayo asked for information on the case which Birungi handed to them.
Birungi’s lawyers told Rukutana that, “It’s evident that our client’s accusers are only set on tarnishing both his and the company’s good image and reputation.”
ABOVE: President Museveni recently awarding Mr. Simpson Birungi an award for Transforming the Economy through Industrialisation
ABOVE: Mr. Simpson Birungi – Managing Director, Movit Products Ltd hands over a cheque worth 5,000,000 UGX to His Grace Cyprian Kizito Lwanga as contribution for the construction of an emergency & accident ward at Nkozi Hospital at the Car Wash Fundraiser.
ABOUT MOVIT EMPIRE
Birungi started his business with a capital injection of Shs 1m before growing a powerful business empire in the region. Movit deals in several products including lotions, jelly, shampoo, relaxers, conditioners, neutralizers and treatment.
Movit is now present in ten African countries -Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Birungi Simpson is a captain of industry in cosmetics and boasts of over 20 years in the field – first as an importer and now as a manufacturer. He is passionate about managing a diversity of Human Resources of the Company to accomplish the set goals – with the near term goal of “Operation Africa”.
He leads our strategy to be the preferred provider of healthy beauty hair and skin care products empowering every person to face life with confidence.
Movit as an employer of choice has created opportunities for close to 800 permanent staff and 1200 casual workers. The Company is also ranked amongst Uganda’s top tax payers with a production line of over 200 products and growing .