Businessman Patrick Bitature

Troubled businessman Patrick Bitature has come out to apologise to fellow businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

There has been a social media campaign dragging in Sudhir’s name which was made worse with the revelation in the local press that the loan from Vantage was used to pay Crane Bank Limited.

Bitature said in a tweet on his handle @patrickbitature that it was part of the deliberate smear campaign to drag Sudhir in his woes.

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“I would like to assure all of you that I do not think anybody in Uganda and in particular my longtime friend Sudhir Ruparelia 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.”

In December 2014, Bitature’s Simba Properties Investment Company (SPIC) acquired $10 million loan from Vantage to pay an outstanding loan but also complete his Skyz Hotel in Kampala. Bitature at the time praised Vantage for the timely financial help. Now he does not want to pay the loan arguing that it is illegal, the date of repayment having elapsed in December 2019.

For instance, he has said part of the loan he acquired from Vantage was paid to Crane Bank Limited (CBL), formerly owned by Sudhir Ruparelia, the Chairman of Ruparelia Group. CBL was unfairly sold by Bank of Uganda (BoU) to DFCU in January 2017 in a transaction worth Shs200 billion, paid in installments.

But the turn of events, troubled City businessman yesterday admitted in a public statement that he legally borrowed money from Vantage Mezzanine contrary to his lawyer Fred Muwema who said Vantage was a ghost company.

Bitature who has come under public criticism says he is willing to settle the loan with Vantage despite the ongoing private prosecution initiated by Vantage.

“As part of its business expansion plans, Simba approached Vantage Capital in 2014, seeking an alternative to the more common and mainstream pure debt funding for business expansion. Consequently, a “Mezzanine Term Facility Agreement (MFTA)” was signed between Vantage Mezzanine Fund II partnership (“Vantage”) and Simba Properties Investment Company (Simba) for $10,000,000 to fund projects within the Group. These projects included the completion of Protea by Marriott Skyz Hotel and working Capital for our ElectroMaxx power Subsidiary. The agreement had a 3- year Moratorium (freeze) for repayment of both the principal and interest.”

Patrick Bitature who was ranked among the top “five Ugandan Multi-Millionaires” by Forbes Magazine in 2012 has opened up on his wealth, applauding Sudhir Ruparelia for the mentorship.

Bitature in a video where he was recently giving an inspirational talk to a number of graduates said Sudhir helped him to master the courage to invest in the real estate sector and property.

“He held my hand when I was going into property and I was scared,” says Bitature, adding that at the time he had made some good money after investing in MTN Uganda but he had not expanded his business portfolio as it is today. He is quoted by PML Daily news website.

He says that one day after having lunch with Sudhir at Speke Hotel, “he held my hand and we went to Kyadondo, a Kampala suburb, where Sudhir showed him “three properties in the row” and “said buy them”.

Bitature, who didn’t have enough money at the time (all the properties were above Shs100M) wanted to decline the offer, but when he told Sudhir that he didn’t have money, Sudhir promised to lend him more and top up what Bitature had.

Bitature says that he partly felt Sudhir Ruparelia was trying to set him up.

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