Barclays Bank has instructed Quickway Auctioneers and Court Bailiffs to auction J&M Airport Rd Hotel Apartments and Leisure Centre Ltd to recover a loan amounting to more than Sh 4.7 billion.
A notice published on July 4 indicated that the property, sitting on approximately 30.5 acres, would be auctioned to the highest bidder on August 5 unless the mortgagor pays all the monies owing under the mortgage and the legal fees and costs incurred before the date of sale.
The posh facility is located at Bwebajja on Entebbe Road and belonged to the late Joseph Behakanira who secured the hefty loan to complete the hotel in 2005. The property, which could have been sold more than five years ago, was temporarily saved from auction when a Chinese businessman slapped a caveat on it claiming that the owners owed him $9.5 million (more than Shs 31 billion), allegedly for materials supplied to erect the facility.
Rahul Modi, the proprietor of Hong Kong-based Five Line Trading Company, said at the time that he supplied building materials including glass blocks, pollycarbonate sheets, furniture, tiles, laundry machines, swimming pool items and locks, decoration, lighting as well as rail fittings worth $12 million (Shs40bn) but only a quarter of it was paid.
He claimed that Behakanira approached him in 2006 to ship the assorted items to enable him complete his hotel in time for planned November 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala. However, it remains unknown whether or not the Chinese businessman’s debt has now been cleared. Bank officials remained tight-lipped on the matter.
Behakanira, the principle signatory to the contract, died suddenly in 2010 shortly after the Parliament Public Accounts Committee grilled him on the $1.3 million (Shs4.36 billion) cash he got from the government ostensibly to prepare 200 rooms to accommodate CHOGM guests at the Hotel, only three days to the Summit.