Tirupati tycoon Miraji loses multibillion properties to Kampala debt sharks

Tirupati tycoon Miraji loses multibillion properties to Kampala debt sharks

As Bank of Uganda continues to corner one of Africa’s richest men, Kampala property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, the world has crumbled on his apprentice, Barot Miraji, the managing director at Tirupati Development Uganda Ltd, another big real estate dealer, adding impetus to their business empires’ free fall that began late last year.

TheUgandan has landed on exclusive information showing that four very senior Kampala lawyers; Herbert Kiggundu, Siraj Ali, Brian Kabayiza and Terence Kavuma have decided on a go for Miraj’s neck on behalf of an unnamed city Bank.

Tirupati was disbursed loans by to various subsidiaries of his empire, which subsequently failed to service the debts.

The assets, a business park along the Northern Bypass which consists of 253 warehouses, modern offices that are expected to go under the auctioneer’s hammer on August 14, 2017. The properties include 135 warehousing blocks at Kikaaya in Wakiso District, 21 warehouses at Kibuga and four more at Kyebando, according to a notice by Kabayiza Kavuma Mugerwa and Ali Advocates, a top firm which has been operational since 1998.

Eazzy Banking

Tirupati once claimed cost him a total cost of over US$100 million to put up.

“Duly instructed by our client the Registered Mortgagee we shall proceed to sell this property and all the developments thereon unless the debtor pays all monies owed to our client plus our legal fees and disbursements,” said the auction notice.

“All occupants are required to vacate within seven days from the date of this notice to enable prospective buyers inspect the property that is suitable for warehousing.”

The properties sale set to take place at Plot 11 Bandali Close in Bugolobi, Kampala next month is expected to fetch billions of shillings in aggregate, helping to retire the Tirupati loans that are estimated to constitute the banking industry’s fourth largest exposure to a single entity.

The sale is expected to attract institutional investors and wealthy individuals.

Tirupati blames some of his woes on delays by government bureaucrats to approval designs and other requirements needed to develop a property affects borrowers since the loans accumulate interest without development not progressing.

Dismantling of empire

Tirupati has operated in Uganda for ten years.  The company boasts a number of empty shopping malls and classy unoccupied apartments around the city, offices, warehouses, and business parks. Mazima Mall in Nsambya and Ovino Market are some of Tirupati’s outstanding projects besides Virat Alloys which Miraj fronted in the acquisition of the assets of Sembule Steel Mills in Nalukolongo, a Kampala suburb.

The sale marks the latest dismantling of the Tirupati empire that was built on debt, and more recently fell victim of gross mismanagement.

Miraj Barot, 28, began running his father’s business empire when he was only 14-years old.

His father, Hashad Barot, is the chairman and founder of Tirupati Development, a leading real estate company in Uganda.

The family moved to Uganda from a small village in India two decades ago and the young Barot was raised and had his short stint of formal education in Uganda.

The young tycoon considers business to be his calling in life. He revealing that this was the reason he dropped out of school early to nurture his business acumen.

As his wealth grew so did his partying ways — he held so many private parties at his Kampala residences and flew his friends abroad for vacationing, blowing hundreds of millions on such parties.

One of Miraj’s aides who preferred anonymity told TheUgandan that the high cost of financing is the main reason for the collapse of Tirupati and bank repossession of their assets.

“We (Tirupati) were unable to service their mortgages end of story,” he said.  “Our boss borrowed money from commercial banks with the hope that the business will flourish. Unfortunately, things have not worked as per their expectations due to changes in micro-economic environment.”

Tirupati also tried venturing into sugar production starting in January 2012. The company claimed to own a sugarcane plantation in Nakasongola stretching over 9,500 acres with a sugar factory in Najjera, Wakiso District. The sugar project, which was said to have had cost over US$88 million, was expected to employ over 30,000 Ugandans and produce 2,500 tonnes of sugar per day. However, the sugar prospects didn’t turn out to be that productive for Tirupati.  Tirupati has also invested in residential housing projects in Bugolobi, Kamwokya and Luzira.

Tirupati says its investments in the last five years are worth US$500 million.

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