13 November 2017

Tanzania: Fresh Details Emerge of 'Lugumi Bidder'

Mwanza/Dar — More details are emerging about the 'billionaire', Dr Luis Shika, who successfully bade to buy three houses belonging to a business tycoon, Mr Saidi Lugumi, but could not pay 25 per cent as the law requires.

Yesterday, The Citizen paid a visit to Dr Shika's village, Chamugasa in Busega District as well as his Dar es Salaam house, which is located in Tabata Mawenzi and spoke to his relatives and neighbours.

His brother, Mr Pelanya Nyulalula, 84, disclosed they had disowned him since early 1980s after distancing himself from matters pertaining to the family.

Mr Nyulalula said his brother could not even attend the burial of his parents.

"I am surprised to see these pictures because we all thought he had died a long time ago. We never heard from him since he left in the 1980s," said Lunyalula after being shown the picture of his brother. The octogenarian said he last saw Dr Shika in the 1980s during an operation against economic saboteurs before he left to Russia for studies.

According to him, family meeting which sat shortly after their uncle's death resolved to disown Dr Shika owing to his failure to attended the burial of his father and other relatives.

"We as a family don not recognise his existence because he abandoned the family for a long time. It's about four decades now, so we can't offer any help for him now. He should fight his way out of this problem," said Mr Lunyalula.

His neighbours at Tabata Mawenzi, who fondly calls him Babu (grandfather), said Dr Skika lead a modest life.

However, they were surprised after seeing the pictures of 'Babu' circulating on social media indicating that he wanted to buy Sh2 billion properties while he could hardly pay his electricity and water bills.

"Babu leads a normal life, but we were surprised when we saw him on TV stations and social media biding to buy multi-billion properties," said one of his neighbour, who sought anonymity.

"Babu used to come here to eat; his favorite food is Chapati and beans. I have never had any problem with him," said a food vendor, who identified herself as Mama Glory.

An independent lawyer, Mr John Mallya said: "This is not criminal offence, but a civil case. However, let's wait and see which charge he will face after being taken to court."

"The 25 per cent at the auctioning isn't clear because one might be prepared for quarter per cent of Sh500 million," he said.

"The problem comes when the final amount exceeds the expectations, so my expectation is that Yono will be complaining that the auctioning was smashed, hence no crime committed," he added.

His views were seconded by lecturer of laws at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr James Jess, who said: "I do not know which law was contravened."

For his part, Professor of Law at the Mzumbe University Cyriacus Binamungu said he was not sure of the nature of the case to be filled.

"I'm still thinking about the nature of the case to be filed. There are specific procedures for auctioning of which all participants should be aware of earlier before," he said.

Director General of Yono Auctioning mart Ms Scholastika Kevela said: "Dr Shika knew why he did that."

Reacting to why they did not ask him to pay 25 per cent for the first house before going to the second one, Ms Kevela said they did so because banks were still open and there was enough time.

"He was under custody of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officers so there was no doubt. Besides, after the auctioning the first house, we had enough time for payment and banks were yet to be closed," he added.

"Dr Shika issued all documents and to clear all doubts he was so good at expressing himself that's why we weren't worried. Good enough, he boarded a TRA vehicle when we were heading to the last house in Upanga,"said Kevela.

Police are holding Dr Shika for failing to pay the 25 per cent of the selling price after he was declared the highest bider.

Dr Shika bade for Lugumi Enterprises properties at Mbweni JKT and Upanga.

The man, who outbid other prospective buyers, was supposed to pay 25 per cent of Sh1.2 billion for the house in Mazengo, Upanga, Ilala District, and Sh1.1 billion and Sh900 million for properties in Mbweni JKT, Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam.

The auction took a more dramatic turn when it became more and more apparent that this 'successful bidder' would not be able to pay required taxes at the TRA Ilala District offices.

Yono Auction Mart was given the mandate to auction the properties, nonetheless, everything pointed to a drama-filled day from early morning when the buyer, donning a blue long-sleeve shirt, a pair of loose light khaki trousers and oldish open shoes, arrived at the Mbweni property on a motorcycle and left for the Upanga house in a vehicle ferrying TRA officials.

However, he got himself into trouble with the law by blocking prospective buyers through alleged false pretence and disrupting the auction. It was the man's simplicity that arouse the curiosity of those at the scene leading to The Citizen to have a quick background check of this buyer.

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