UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | John Sebalamu, a well-known real estate tycoon in Kampala, has recently made media headlines in his quest to secure a USD $80 million loan (roughly USh 300 billion) to expand his already impressive business empire.
It is reported that Uganda Development Bank (UDB) refused to provide financing for the tycoon’s next, ambitious construction projects, which prompted him to approach private banks. However, most of these also declined, citing the amount he wished to borrow was too risky given Uganda’s current unpredictable economic times when many borrowers are defaulting, increasing the banks’ bad debt liabilities.
Media reports claim Sebalamu’s legal and financial team finally turned to Equity Bank to secure the $80 million loan. Equity Bank is well known for having a strong appetite for risk, and has taken over as the preferred bank for such situations in place of Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia’s Crane Bank.
It is said the loan was swiftly approved and made available for the businessman to expand his empire of commercial properties, malls, and arcades in Kampala.
Sebalamu, with his brother John Bosco Muwonge, is one of Uganda’s most prominent city tycoons owning many of the structures in downtown Kampala, where they are amoung the richest individuals in the country, only matched by the likes of Sudhir Ruperelia.
However, it is reported that several of his advisors are afraid that Sebalamu may come to regret his aggressive expansion in the face of the current difficult financial environment.
These advisors, whose suggestions the billionaire apparently disregarded, are reminding him of the likes of Dr. Alfred Higenyi and other property tycoons who borrowed and later defaulted on the loans, forcing the infamous Equity Bank to seize and sell off their properties as compensation.
The most recent auction held by the extremely harsh and aggressive Kenyan Bank was for Higenyi’s Wandegeya-based Namuswa Plaza.
One can only pray that Mzee John Sebalamu won’t suffer the same fate as Dr. Alfred Higenyi of the Wandegeya-based Namuswa Plaza, Simbamanyo property owner Architect Peter Kamya, NRM Luwero Chairman Ronald Ndawula and others who obtained loans from the risk-tolerant yet merciless Equity Bank.
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