Billionaire Abid Alam, owner of Kaliro sugar works, steel rolling mills and Mityana farm enterprises is expected to be charged over murder and other charges, Ebert Byenkya the lead counsel of the Commision of inquiry into Land matters has said.
According to the evidence presented to the commission in September this year, Mr Alam reportedly hired machete-wielding men to attack residents.
Grace Nanjere, one of the residents claimed that her husband David Ssenyama, the area LC 1 chairman was attacked and killed by workers of the Indian businessman in the presence of the police.
“The file has been sent to the DPP for sanctioning and we expect that he will be charged”, said Ebert Byenkya.
His troubles started when he defied the commission’s orders that prohibited any business from taking place on the disputed land.
The land in question is in Bukoba, Mubende District, where he owns a sugarcane plantation.
The residents claimed they were the rightful owners of the 12 square miles of the land in question having purchased it from Mubende land office. Some said they inherited from their grandparents, former World War II ex servicemen. Abid reportedly paid each of the 700 families between Shs 500,000 and 1.5 million to vacate the land.
Mr Emilian Kayima, the Kampala metropolitan police spokesperson, said Alam was arrested by counter terrorism police and detained at Wandegeya police station on Wednesday and released on Police bond the following day.
“Those matters have become criminal offences”, the chairperson of the land probe, Justice Catherine Bamugemeire who is leading the Commission of inquiry into Land matters said.
Deep pockets threatened
Born in Uganda in 1960, Mr Abid went to school at Shimoni Demonstration and Nakasero Primary schools. He later went to Nairobi for his Secondary and completed school in the United States.
He comes from of the entrenched industrialist families in Uganda and Kenya with massive interests in steel and related products and known to win tenders easily to supply government projects.
Known to be close to President Museveni’s government, Steel Rolling Mills was among the list of about 60 companies and individuals seeking a financial bailout totalling to Shs1.3 trillion from the government.
The company is also battling to pay off a Shs50 billion loan it acquired from Standard Chartered Bank in 2014, which it used to replenish its machines. Consequently, the firm was placed under receivership to allow the bank recover its loans. The bank was in 2016 selling some of Alam’s properties including LVR 1618 folio 17 plot Bidco Road, Masese Jinja, LRV 33897 Folio 6 plot 92A Fifth Street, Industrial Area Kampala, Block 449 plots 3 to Busiro County.
Some 2,700 workers of Steel Rolling Mills have been laid off in the last two years, , the factory’s general manager, Mr Ismail Nasifu said last year.
Alam’s misfortunate with banks goes back to his family used to own Gold Trust Bank until they sold it off to dfcu after they were accused of dubious or fraudulent activities that took place under instructions or knowledge of Alams.
To try and make new inroads, the Alam group recently ventured into tourism as well. They also recently started a sugar plantation and factory in Mayuge district but it is not doing well as expected. Our estimates put Alam Abid and family net worth just around the $140m mark.