By DailyNewsUG Business Correspondent
- Feud: Dr. Sudhir recently 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.
- Dr Gukiina contends he owns a quarter acre of land of the site on which Mr Ruparelia wants to construct a hotel.
DAILYNEWS UG |KAMPALA| – City Mogul Sudhir Rupareria has brushed off a suit brought by city advocate Dr. Peter Musoke Gukiina, seeking to block the construction of a multi-billion hotel at Ssese beach where he claims part of the land.
Mr Rupareria in a counterclaim has described Dr Gukiina as a bad neighbour, who is seeking to stop development of a new hotel facility for fear of competition since he is running the same business.
Dr. Gukiina has run to court asking that Mr 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 Kaddu and Partners 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.
Dr. Gukiina wants Court to order Mr Sudhir to vacate the land as well as issue a permanent injunction restraining him from developing it.
Nonetheless, Mr Sudhir through his lawyers M/s Walusimbi & Co. Advocates has dismissed Gukiina’s allegations and has lodged a countersuit. Walusimbi Advocates also told court that Gukiina filled a case against a non-existent party (Speke Hotel Limited) instead of Speke Hotel (1996) Ltd.
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 neighbouring 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 counterclaim, 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 counterclaimant 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.2
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.
Above: A majestic Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort owned by Speke Hotels Group of Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia
Fear for competition
Mr Ruparelia says Mr Gukiina is “a bad neighbour” who filed the case in attempt to stop the construction of Ssese Gateway Beach Hotel for fear of competition since they have similar businesses.
Mr Gukiina operates a restaurant and entertainment place on his land adjacent to the planned hotel.
Mr Ruparelia also refuted claims that the quarter acre belongs to Dr Gukiina and reiterated his determination to continue the construction.
Through his lawyers of Walusimbi & Co. Advocates, Mr Ruparelia states that the case has been filed against a wrong entity saying his company is Speke Hotel (1996) Limited and is therefore not the Speke Hotel Limited that is the first defendant in Dr Gukiina’s suit.
In a January 29th response to the case, Speke Hotel (1996) Limited avers that it’s in any case a bona fide purchaser of the land and that the land in question had no encumbrances and asked court to dismiss the court with costs.
Mr Ruparelia insists the case by Mr Gukiina was brought in bad faith and should be dismissed. The property magnate has also indicated that he is not interested in purchasing land comprised in Busiro Block 443 as the plaintiff claims.
Speke Hotel (1996) limited also averse that the purported survey by Wemo Consultants Planners and Surveyors were never carried out adding that the report is of a biased opinion. The lawyers to Mr Ruparelia insist that there was no survey done and dismissed claims as baseless.
Above: An exquisite shot of one of Speke Resort Group Hotels
They surveyors and Mr Gukiina have been accused of opening the boundaries of the land without consulting neighbours and rejected claims that the plaintiff had kibanja interests on a part of Ssese Gateway Beach land. The lawyers have told court that Mr Gukiina will be put to task to provide proof of ownership of the land as he claims.
He also denies encroaching on the plaintiffs’ property saying the incomplete building and a septic tank remain intact on a plot outside the fence of the site.
“Speke Hotel (1996) Limited avers that until 2018 the existing boundary wall between the plaintiff’s land and its owner was constructed by the plaintiff himself. It is on this wall constructed by the plaintiff that in the last two months, Speke Hotel (1996) Limited added further construction upwards for neatness, security and durability,” Mr Ruparelia’s lawyers stated in defence.
Dr. Gukiina, a former Makerere don, is not new to controversy, in 2016 he was accused by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Ministry of Water and fisheries degrading Lake Victoria in by “reclaiming and depositing soil and gravel along the entire shoreline” which impacted greatly on the lake water quality.
Above: Speke Resorts Olympic Size Swimming pool at Munyonyo