The ruling National Resistance Movement has indicated that it is not ready to pay the businessman who lent the party money in 2010.
Nina Mbabazi-Rukikaire, a daughter of estranged NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi, borrowed Shs 440m from Arvind Patel’s money-lending company ahead of the 2010 delegates’ conference.
Nina borrowed the money at a monthly interest rate of 15 per cent in June 2010 to compile the party register. Under the agreement, the money was to be repaid in three months. Four years on, however, no penny has been repaid and that debt has accumulated to Shs 4.5bn.
“I want to make this very clear. NRM owes that [man] nothing. If he had any dealings with any individual, that is his business,” NRM deputy treasurer, Marwaha Singh Katongole, said during a press conference at NRM headquarters on Thursday.
On August 28, Patel, the former treasurer of NRM’s entrepreneurs’ league, filed a suit against the party in the Commercial division of the High court. The New Vision reported early this week that NRM had engaged the money-lender in an attempt to seek an out-of-court settlement. Singh, however, says that the debt is not among the issues the party treasury is handling.
“Is there any instrument sanctioned by the [NRM] treasury that he lends us money? What security did he get from NRM to give us that money?” Singh asked.
In April this year, The Observer reported that Nina had appealed to President Museveni for help in clearing the debt, arguing that when she borrowed the money, she got the president’s assurance that the party would clear the debt (See, Mbabazi daughter runs to Museveni over Shs 3bn debt).
The debt has since taken a political turn with Nina, supported by her father, Mbabazi, refusing to release the party’s computerised register until the money has been repaid.
Indeed Mbabazi told an NRM caucus meeting on September 8 at State House, Entebbe, that his daughter would sue the party if the debt was not cleared.
Singh said the party is faced with a number of debts, including one owed to Namboole stadium. On Wednesday, Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) directed the management of Namboole stadium not to host the NRM delegates’ conference until the ruling party has cleared an outstanding debt of Shs 188m arising from the 2010 delegates’ conference which was held there.
Evelyn Anite, a member of the NRM delegates’ conference organising committee, said the party leadership was working around the clock to have the debts cleared.
“NRM is not just an ordinary party but one that is in power. I want to assure the NRM fraternity that we are doing everything within our means to clear the debts,” Anite said.
Besides the debts, the party is also facing at least two legal challenges filed by Capt Daudi Ruhinda Maguru and another by the Catholic lawyers association seeking to block the delegates’ conference.
But the acting Secretary General Dorothy Hyuha said that the party’s lawyers headed by Kiryowa Kiwanuka were studying the court petitions to ensure that nothing stops the meeting.
Source : The Observer