By DailyNewsUG Correspondent,
Mr. Mohammed Allibhai has been on the run after the police failed to arrest and produce him to testify before the MPs. This follows a warrant of arrest issued after he declined to respond to invitations on three occasions.
He has been a key target of the COSASE select taskforce and is a renowned property manager. Having returned from Canada in 1987, Mr Allibhai, who is the chairman of the Association of Expropriated Properties Owners Limited, is wanted by the MPs to explain how he got powers of attorney to repossess and manage 691 properties.
Lawyers representing city property mogul Muhammad Allibhai have informed the select taskforce of Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) that being a person of advanced age, he cannot easily appear before MPs amid the Covid-19 spread.
The taskforce chaired by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi has since mid-March been waving warrant of arrest for Mr Allibhai who is wanted to testify against allegations that he holds titles of more than 700 departed Asians properties.
The taskforce has since July last year been probing the dubious acquisition or repossession of properties by individuals after their former owners, who were expelled in 1972, have either not returned to repossess them or were compensated by the government in 1976.
Mr Allibhai’s lawyers of Ambrose Tebyasa & Co Advocates, in a June 19 letter to the taskforce chairperson, said much as their client has never received summons and the said warrant of arrest, he is not able to appear until the Covid-19 situation normalises. They also said Mr Allibhai is out of the country and cannot return until the borders of Uganda and those of his current location are re-opened.
“As you are aware, Uganda’s borders are closed and so are many borders of several countries due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Our client is in the age bracket of the most vulnerable to the pandemic and can only make cautious movements taking into his health,” the letter reads in part.
The lawyers also asked the MPs to stop depicting Mr Allibhai as a “criminal” because he is a law abiding citizen who has previously appeared before the same taskforce to testify on matters of the departed Asians’ properties.
“Our client would never object to appearing before an impartial body, as he has appeared before you last year. This negates the issuance of warrants against a person without serving him as per the mandatory procedures governing parliamentary hearings under the relevant Act,” the lawyers wrote.
Mr Allibhai together with other members of the Association of Expropriated Properties Owners Limited last appeared before the taskforce in September last year. While testifying on oath, the businessman said he manages more than 400 properties on behalf of expropriated Asians under his company, Alderbridge Management and Real Estates Ltd.
It is against this background that the MPs tasked him to return with documentary evidence, including powers of attorney, management contracts, rental income remittance receipts and sale agreements for those that he claimed he had been permitted to sell.