Businessman and events organizer Balaam Barugahara has accused South Sudan military officer Gen. Apollo Richard Kashif of frustrating his sh18.7b investment in the capital Juba.
Barugahara explained his predicament when he spoke to the Ugandanz News Website yesterday. He claims Kashif has intensified the campaign to grab a two-acre property.
It is located on Plot 24B, Riverside Garden, along River Nile, in the city suburb of Konyokonyo. Documents show that on April 10, 2013, Barugahara signed an agreement with the landlord, Fatma Ramadan Albesheir, leasing the property for 25 years, starting from January 1, 2011, to January 30, 2036.
The agreement is reinforced with clause 2 that says: “The first party, Albesheir, does not have the right to terminate before this period (contract expiry date).”
The agreement, which we obtained a copy, shows Albesheir signed as the first party, while Barugahara signed as a second party representing Red Bal Investment Company Limited.
Barugahare, however, said Albesheir has conspired with Kashif to create an impression that he (Barugahara) is a trespasser. He said the landlord has become ‘greedy’. The aggrieved said Kashif is misusing a power of attorney document (authorization to act on behalf of Albesheir), to breach the agreement.
Balaam Partner Gets Kidnapped in South Sudan
“On Saturday, they kidnapped my general manager Andrew Leonard Leju. They forced him to sign papers, saying I had sold to them 50% of the shares and that they had paid me $2.5m,” Barugahara said.
The investment includes structures for Radio One South Sudan, Juba TV (currently on testing), Balaam Marketing Agency, an events company and AndyAudio, which deals in sound and lights provision.
The premises also contain his mineral water bottling company. Barugahara has also subleased the premises to MTN South Sudan, which operates a warehouse.
The agreement indicates monthly rent, strictly payable in South Sudan Pounds: SSP3,750 prior, Barugahare made a SSP135,000 down payment. Yesterday, the businessman’s lawyer, Ajak Mayol Bior, based in Juba, told Uganda’s New Vision that he had petitioned court to disregard the criminal case of trespass, saying it was a non-starter.
“My next course of action is to have the case dismissed. There is no trespass as she (Albesheir) is claiming. There is a binding contract, so it is illogical to claim he (Barugahare) is trespassing”
Apart from being a successful events organiser, 40-year- old Barugahara owns several enterprises. These include Balaam Marketing and Promotions Agency Ltd. Radio 4 103.3 FM and Radio One 87.9 FM in South Sudan.
Cry to Museveni
The businessman has requested President Yoweri Museveni to intervene by asking his counterpart Salva Kiir to rein in Kashif.
“I am requesting President Museveni, in his capacity as guarantor of peace in South Sudan, to help me and talk to his fellow head of state, Gen. Salva Kiir, to caution his officer, Kashif, to stop interfering, harassing and intimidating my staff, and even threatening to kill me,” Barugahara said.
Hitherto considered lucrative, doing business in South Sudan was in the recent past greatly affected by unrests caused by civil war. Several business entities are still demanding payment for losses and non-payment.
In 2010, Uganda and South Sudan struck a reciprocal agreement to the effect that Uganda services the debt, categorising it as a loan to the country.