By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Popular businessman Karim Hirji is involved in a multibillion property scandal with his stepchildren, who accuse him of allegedly grabbing selling their late mother Ziba Nanyonga Hirji’s estates, both in Uganda and in the United Kingdom.
One of the properties currently under contention in Uganda is a building popularly known as Charm Towers, although there are several others withing Kampala and its suburbs.
The orphans whose property Karim allegedly grabbed have since petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, alleging that Attorney General William Byaruhanga and their lawyer Masembe Kanyerezi of MMAKS Advocates, colluded with Karim Hirji to fraudulently grab properties that belonged to their late mother, hence denying them their inheritance.
The properties that are causing pressure for tycoon Karim and his stepchildren include residential premises in the United Kingdom, two houses in Bugolobi, a Kampala suburb, two properties in Kololo, two shopping arcades in Kampala, two properties along Mawanda Road, among others.
Karim’s late wife Ziba succumbed to cancer at the Cromwell Hospital in London in February 2004. Karim named the iconic building Charm Towers in Kampala’s central business district after her when he acquired it and the children contend that their late mother bequeathed it to them according to her will. The building used to house the headquarters of the defunct Uganda Commercial Bank.
Late Ziba’s children who are pulling ropes with Karim include; Linda Birungi, Anita Birungi and Ronnie Birungi, who state in their petition that by the time their late mother got married to Karim, she already had other children (them) and had properties acquired from her earlier marriage (to their late father) but they were left with nothing upon her death after a ‘fraudulent will’ which was presented by Karim, which indicated that only the three children she had produced with Karim were the only ones to benefit from her estate.
It is alleged that the AG Byaruhanga traveled to London during the time Charm was hospitalized and obtained her signature which they used to sell off her properties in London and grab deposits on her London bank accounts.
“The Attorney General is behind this fraud; how could they change her will just a week Parliament before her death. We are requesting the Speaker to fight for us so that we get what belongs to us,” the children said in their petition to Kadaga.
These children accuse Karim of allegedly grabbing their late mother’s properties and changing ownership of the same into his names , misappropriating monies in both her accounts and the children’s trust accounts, and proceeds from her life insurance policy, for his own benefits.
Furthermore, they say all deposits were estimated at USD$10m on Ziba Hirji’s current and fixed deposit bank accounts in Barclays Bank, now Absa Bank, ICBC Bank in UK and the defunct Imperial Investment Bank that belonged to Hirji and Allied Bank. They want Kadaga to compel Bank of Uganda to investigate the money that was on these bank accounts but disappeared shortly after her death.
“Parliament should help investigate our mum’s property that was transferred five days to her death. Mum was in coma and couldn’t understand what was happening. She had started taking strong medicine that impaired her judgement four months before her death,” the children say in their petition.
By the time we filed this article, our sources had revealed to us that the complainant (children) have since filed a case in the Family Division of the High Court but they say it has not been very helpful so they pray to Parliament to intervene.
Efforts to contact tycoon Karim for a comment were however still futile since he couldn’t be reached on phone, although our Spies are still trying to reach him.
Watch this space for details!