KAMPALA – The Indian-Uganda businessman Mr NK Radia has termed as propaganda rumours that he is on the run following the current inquiry by the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises.
He has in a letter by his lawyers explained that it is through the media that he read alarmist reports that he is to be arrested by police and presented before COSASE because he has refused to honour summons to appear.
“This is not a correct position. I have not refused to appear before I was summoned in the first place. I have never personally been served with any summons inviting me to the Committee,” said Mr Radia.
He said his enemies are using Cosase and taking advantage of his absence to peddle propaganda, especially in media, that he had gone into hiding to avoid appearing before the parliamentary committee over the allegations.
Mr NK Radia is allegedly accused of holding 212 land titles which he purportedly attained dubiously during the repossession of properties left behind by the departed by Asians in 1972.
The taskforce chaired by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi it is alleged, was last week expected to receive evidence from Mr Radia on how he acquired the buildings some of which had already been gazetted by the government for sale after the original proprietors never returned to the country.
Mr Radia is currently out of the country and was therefore unable to attend any meetings as the MPs interviewed officials from the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board.
Committee chairman Ibrahim Kasozi then purportedly issued a warrant of arrest for the businessman
Mr Radia however says that he cannot be in contempt of Parliament when it never served him because for there to be contempt of Parliament or court, there must be first knowledge/awareness of this by the person who is summoned to appear.
“And besides I have been very sick. There has been and continues to be a lockdown both internationally and nationally because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic gravely affects people of advanced age like me and those with underlying causes,” said Mr Radia.
Mr. Radia, says that he is a retired Advocate and suffers from the underlying causes and it is very medically improper for the Committee to summon him to expose him to Covid 19 and through the media threats.
“I am not on the run, I am home here and sick and in a lockdown and I am now back, I am getting treatment and once I am re-energised I will appear before Cosase because I am not a criminal,” said Mr Radia.
Mr Radia said the people accusing him of holding 212 land titles are those who want to benefit from the Indian property.
He explained that he represented and acted for different individuals who were repossessing their former properties and that by law and the constitution he is not at liberty to discuss and divulge confidential client matters in public or before Parliament or Court because there is absolute privilege.
According to Mr Yusuf Mutembuli, a lawyer says that the decision by the Cosase to issue an arrest warrantee for Mr Radia as a wanted person depicts him as a criminal.
“And this could open a can of worms on the bizarre relationship between some members of the Indian community, Cosase and their supposed informers,” said Mr Mutembuli of Mutembuli and company advocates.
No title is stolen
Although Cosase accuses Mr Radia of fraudulently acquiring prime properties around Kampala and Jinja towns, which are supposed to have reverted to government on grounds of the former owners being compensated by 1976 or never returned for repossession by 1993, Mr Radia says no property in his possession is stolen.
Some of the properties in question are Plots 29 Acacia Avenue, Plot 22 William Street, Plot 34 Clement Hill Road, Plot 179 Sixth Street, Plot 83 Kampala Road, Plot 7 Bombo Road, Plot 85 Kampala Road, Plot 28 Windson Road, and, plot 62 William Street.
Mr Radia says that he has not stolen any titles from any individual owner nor from Custodian board and that those accusing him of corruption are mere busy bodies trying to throw stones in the bush in the wishful thinking that a bird may emerge. It is the best example of a fishing expedition, in disregard, of the governing law, the Expropriated Properties Act 1982, the Supreme Court decisions and the government policy and position as articulated by the Attorney General himself in his opinion that is binding opinion on Parliament and the entire government.
Mr Radia asked the parliamentary committee on Cosase to avoid listening to his critics and concentrate on their work to avoid being messed up.
About Indians expelled by President Iddi Amin
When former president Idi Amin expelled Asians who did not hold Ugandan citizenship from Uganda in 1972, he allowed those who had registered properties to declare them to the government before leaving the country within 90 days.
Mr Amin, who ruled Uganda for eight years, accused the minority Asians of disloyalty, non-integration and commercial malpractices before declaring that he was “giving Uganda back to ethnic Ugandans.”
Some information got by PML Daily indicates that only about 4,000 of the 23,000 Asians who had been granted Ugandan citizenship opted to remain in the country, while majority, who feared for their lives, joined the more than 50,000 others who had been given 90 days to leave the country.