LAST INTERVIEW: Charles Muhangi said lawyer Geoffrey Nangumya double crossed him, sold Qualicell to Lubega

The late Charles Muhangi

The rally Ace Charles Muhangi died last week in mysterious circumstances and was laid to rest on Sunday, December 9, 2018 at his ancestral home in Bushenyi district.

However, before his death, Muhangi had been locked in a legal battle with city tycoons, Drake Lubega and ‘Hajji Mansour Matovu specifically over several plots that house Qualicell Bus Terminal – the place he had renamed to ‘Bazanyanengo’ (they are playing with a Leopard) before passing on.

Although much is known about the legal battle and the controversies that surround the land in question, little has been said about how the mess that led to the controversy started.

Matooke Republic has landed a recording in which Muhangi implicates lawyer, Geoffrey Nangumya of Geoffrey Nangumya and Co Advocates as having led a conspiracy against him to sell Qualicell to Drake without his consent.

How it started
In 1999, Kampala City Council – the precursor to the current Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) issued an advert in the press that Qualicell Bus Park was up for sale to someone who would develop it into a modern facility.

At the time, the Uganda Bus Operators Association (UBOA) – in which Muhangi was a senior member, given that he owned several buses under the Horizon brand, was in charge of the park.

“Because UBOA and a big and disorganized group, when we saw the advert in the paper, I talked to some of the members and we curved an independent club that would procure and develop Qualicell. We called the club UBOA Investment Limited,” the late Muhangi said on a radio talk show in Kampala.

Muhangi had 65% shares in the eight-member investment club while the other seven shared the remaining 35% amongst themselves.
They started the bidding process in 2000 and were issued a tender to start developing the park in 2002.

At the development phase, Muhangi said that the club needed to pool money together but none of the other shareholders had money to invest. They unanimously resolved to sell their remaining shares to him giving him 100% control of UBOA Investment Limited.

The process went on from 2004 to late 2005 when Muhangi finally resolved to develop the park as an individual given that both his transport business and KCC tender depended on it.

The lawyer, Geoffrey Nangumya

Lawyer Nangumya comes in

One of the eight members of UBOA Limited was Lawyer Nangumya who, according to Muhangi also worked for him for 12 years.

It was this lawyer who went behind Muhangi’s back, reconvened the original members of UBOA Limited and resold the Qualicell land to city tycoon Drake Lubega.

“He called a secret meeting which I didn’t know, invited the old members of UBOA Investments and Lubega and they sold my land.

“I had already bought 12 tractors and a stone quarry in Katayi from Zion Constructions ready to start construction of the park and the war started. They made a letter of consent in Court that UBOA Limited had run out of money and failed to develop the park and that the company had unanimously agreed to sell to Lubega,” the late Muhangi narrated.

From the consent letter, they made an eviction order kicking the Landlord, KCC and UBOA yet Horizon was the one on ground.

Muhangi explained that from 2006 to 2007, Horizon had over 40 court cases on the same land. Eventually, he was pushed out and consequently, Lubega started setting up shopping malls and other properties as Muhangi battled to get his land back – a battle he had won before his death returning to himself, the ownership of the bus park.

Nangumya though is not new to controversy; the lawyer was suspended for six months by the Uganda Law Society in 2009 for illegal gross professional misconduct after he illegally repossessed a bus which had been confiscated by court and in the process, assaulted Allen Janyare, the complainant.

In July 2018, the Uganda Law Council suspended Nangumya again for using a client’s money to the tune of Shs63m which he picked without the client’s consent and using it for himself.

The land in question

Some of his prominent known clients are tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba – a close friend to Muhangi, Panamera’s Desh Kananura among others.
By the time of his death, Muhangi had said that Lubega owed him over $20m in rent and other damages.

Although he didn’t want to sell the land, Muhangi has set $150m as the asking price should Lubega and Mansoor desire buy him out.