KAMPALA: Businessman Patrick Bitature has dismissed claims that Sudhir Ruparelia is plotting to buy his properties amid an ongoing court battle with Vintage Capital over a pending loan worth over $10m (about Shs36b) that has since accumulated to $36m (about Shs124b).
As Bitature battles in court over failure to clear the loan, rumor has been rife that the shrewd Ruparelia could come up with an offer to buy off the properties under Simba Group of Companies, including Protea Hotel and Skyz Hotel Naguru.
But according to Bitature, all this is part of a deliberate smear campaign against “my long-time friend Sudhir Ruparelia.”
“I would like to assure all of you that I do not think anybody in Uganda and in particular my long-time friend Sudhir Ruperalia is after my property. Unfortunately, this is part of a deliberate smear campaign aimed at eroding both his and my reputation in the eyes of the public,” he said on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
This comes a day after the businessman explained how the loan saga with Vintage Capital, a South African company, started eight years ago.
Bitature on Monday explained that attempts by Vantage Capital, a South African-based equity firm, to transfer shares in his Simba Group of Companies, which they held as security for the $10m loan to other companies, was the origin of the current standoff.
In a statement issued on Monday, 30 May 2022, Bitature said Vantage shunned all requests for arbitration and attempted to transfer shares in Simba, which they held as security.
“… notwithstanding the reference to arbitration, Vantage attempted to transfer shares in Simba which they held simply as security. Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) a government body declined to register the transfer of shares and directed Vantage to follow the direction of the Court to essentially resolve the issues at arbitration first,” he explained on Monday.
On Tuesday, May 31, 2022, the businessman thanked the people for the support during what he described as a difficult period.
“I want to thank all my colleagues, business partners, staff, and other Simba Group stakeholders for the warm responses and feedback after I made my public statement about the dispute with one of our business partners, Vantage Capital,” he said.
“As highlighted in my statement, we are committed to having this business dispute resolved at the earliest opportunity through the ongoing mediation process which has kicked off today,” he added.