HOW JOMAYI TYCOON SURVIVED BEING SWALLOWED BY NC BANK
By Mulengera Reporters
Sometime last year, city businessman JB Semogerere approached officials of Jomayi Property Consultants at their head offices in Old Kampala and offered to sell to them 63 acres of land in the Kawuku neighborhood off Entebbe Road. He had quoted Shs20m per acre, making the deal appetizing. In their subsequent management meetings, the Jomayi managers (who have ended up expending Shs37m per acre as we shall show in this story) voted to pay up and acquire the land.
The company duly paid Semogerere everything without much questioning because he is someone Company MD Jomayi Joseph Yiga Magandazi had known for long as a fellow businessman with responsible businesses including hostels in the Makerere-Kikoni neighborhood. He was also the super-agent for NBL beer products in the entire Nsambya-Kabalagala-Kansanga neighborhood. He was also one of the hundreds of swanky housing or residential property owners in Nalumunye, which is one of the many upscale housing estates pioneered by Jomayi Consultants Ltd.
So Jomayi, not suspecting there could be any elements of fraud in the purchase, paid all the money to JB Semogerere who went on an extravagant spending bonanza which saw him even throw a lavish wedding in Kampala for one of his sons. As Jomayi pushed for the title transfers, after parting with Shs2.5bn already, Semogerere casually disclosed to him the title was with the bank where he had previously mortgaged the land. He told him not to worry because just a little balance remained and would soon be paid for the title to be freed up.
Shortly after, Semogerere (who Jomayi always trusted to be a credible gentleman) unexpectedly went missing and couldn’t be located anywhere. Police had to be involved as both NC Bank and DFCU Bank (from which NC had bought Semogerere’s loan) told off Jomayi vowing not to pass over to him anything because they didn’t know him anywhere in the picture of the transaction relating to the land in question. The Jomayi tycoon, now regretting why he over trusted Semogerere to the exclusion of his company attorneys, was advised by his lawyers that the man he could legally pursue was Semogerere because he is the one who he had a lawful claim against. The dilemma was Semogerere was nowhere to be seen and the Shs2.5bn debt obligation remained unextinguished.
Working with Police, Jomayi and the NC bank somehow managed to get Semogerere apprehended but he curiously unceremoniously disappeared again and hasn’t been accounted for up to now. But before going missing, he communicated to the two banks expressing readiness to sell to Jomayi whose Shs2.5bn had already been expended and yet the purported seller had no good title to pass on. Neither was Semogerere still having any money on him to reimburse Jomayi after failing to pass on the land.
Convinced he had been fleeced, Jomayi determined he had to pay for the same land for a second time and recover from Semogerere later. His company good reputation, as an entity that delivers genuine land titles to its customers since entering business in 1997, was at stake and he had to do something to prevent any escalation. He quickly entered into a new understanding with the two banks (NC and DFCU bank) to rebuy the land afresh since Semogerere was nowhere to be seen and even if he was available wasn’t in position to refund the cash. This is how the September 2019 consent agreement (the NC lawyers of AF Mpanga talk about in their newspaper notice threatening to wind up the company) came about.
The understanding was that Jomayi pays a new price for the same land within the agreed time and when this monthly remittance didn’t happen sometimes as promptly as the NC Bank expected, its lawyers took the newspaper advert approach. Apparently, the idea was to pressure the Jomayi tycoon to pay up because he seemingly had no other choice but to pay up because any resultant bad publicity (of lawyers threatening to wind up the company) hurts his business by way of eroding customer confidence.
Unable to recover from Semogerere who has since fled Uganda, Jomayi had to create a new understanding with the bank to circumvent pressure that was already coming from a few plots’ buyers who had already moved in at the estate in dispute. On learning of their taking possession of the land, even before getting titles, the NC Bank sent in bailiffs who went communicating to everybody how they had bought air. This caused the company officials at Old Kampala to face plenty of pressures from these troubled buyers. A pressured Jomayi reached out to the NC Bank again and it was agreed they free up at least 16 acres equaling the monthly installments he had paid so far, which was agreed. This somehow saved the image of the company and led to renewed confidence in the company enabling more sales to be made in the same estate.
Fast forward; how does Jomayi survive the NC Bank renewed threat (ignited in the last week of February this very year)? His lawyers referred the matter to court protesting the haste and apparent bad faith with which NC Bank was acting. A court session was convened during which parties submitted before the Civil Division of the High Court registrar. The Jomayi side admitted to the balance of Shs868,250,000 that the NC Bank considers to be the outstanding amount and assured court they are going to pay it up soonest.
In the end, AF Mpanga acting for NC Bank drafted an instrument giving Jomayi up to Tuesday 16th June 2020 (which is 3 months from now) to pay up the Shs868m balance or risk being subjected to wind up proceedings. Jomayi company officials committed themselves to have cleared the outstanding obligation to zero balance by end of May 2020. During the last Wednesday proceedings before the Registrar, the Jomayi party submitted it was absence of bad faith for a creditor demanding just Shs868m to commence wind up proceedings against a company whose worth is over Shs500bn inclusive of the various housing estates and the stone quarrying business in Mukono whose Mbalala-Namawojolo aspect alone was recently estimated to be over Shs170bn in a professional valuation report.
As they left court, our reporter tried squeezing a comment from the stone-faced Jomayi company officials whose delegation head reluctantly told him; “The implication of what has happened today is that we have been instructed to clear the outstanding balance which we are going to accomplish before end of May and once that is done, as is surely going to be the case, there will be no element of insolvency as was portrayed in the media notices the other party’s lawyers had placed against our company. That is all and it’s something that is going to be extinguished sooner than later.” (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at email@example.com).