How Foreign Affairs Ministry senior officials of Uganda, envoy defrauded over Shs3bn from Equatorial Guinea in dubious house sale deal

The Uganda Ministry of Foreign Affairs is on spot after some of its senior officials got involved in a dubious house sale deal.

Recently, the government of Equatorial Guinea kicked off plans to buy an already built house in Kampala to set up their embassy.

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The country envoy along with some senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked on the search for a perfect property that would suit the embassy status.

But along the way, the senior ministry officials together with the envoy allegedly connived and acquired a property after grossly inflating its price.

According to Redpepper newspaper, the Equatorial Guinea government had advanced $2 million (About Shs7 billion) for this purpose. However, the house ended up costing between $1.7 million. An official in the office of the Chief of Protocol is said to have illicitly obtained two hundred fifty thousand United States Dollars ($250,000) in the transaction.

The property in question is a residential building on Plot No. 31 Mackenzie Vale in Kololo which was recently “purchased” by the Government of Equatorial Guinea to house its Embassy in Kampala.

At first, the officials were showed a better house with 6 bedrooms,stand alone offices,entertainment area with swimming pool on hill lane and it was costing Shs7 billion. The property which sits in a full acre, is located in the diplomatic zone next to the residences of USA, Iran, Rwanda, and Libya.

Unfortunately, they settled for the one that sits on 30 decimals. The property in question was bought by businessman Karim Hirji two years ago at $700,000 (over Shs2.5 billion).

The property was sold to Equatorial Guinea on 5th February, 2021 but the ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the deal on 23rd February which is against the Diplomatic and Consular Property Conventions Act.

Meanwhile, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has also written to the concerned officials to avail to them with all information related to the transaction.

Whereas the property was sold at $1.7 million, real estate agents say the property’s (in 30 decimals) value is around $900, 000 (over Shs3.3 billion), which means the Central African country lost over $800,000 (approximately Shs2.9 billion)

Equatorial Guinea has also asked for a full report and the official who handled the transaction on their behalf has also been recalled. Officials at Foreign Affairs are also on spot for issuing a diplomatic letter allowing some officials in transaction to take cash through Entebbe Airport.

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