How M7’s weathy ex-minister was trapped into bogus Peugoet automobile deal triggering his fall
Former Public Service Junior Minister, Patrick Okumu Ringa died this week a heartbroken man.
The elder who is survived by a French and Muganda wife, passed on from his home in Naguru after nursing a stroke for several years.
The man from Padyere in Nebbi district had been a flourishing Peugeot automobile dealer until after he was lured into a deal to purportedly supply those French brand automobiles to the government of Uganda in the early days of President Yoweri Museveni’s regime.
Mistaking the bad deal for a lucrative one, Ringa went into overdrive shopping for loans here and there in order to deliver on the lucrative deal and make a killing off the same.
Armed with the big loans and, assured of making money from the biggest customer around in Uganda( read government), Ringa went into a frenzy importing the expensive French cars and flooded his Jinja road based Afro Motors showroom with them.
But the big bubble would finally burst into Ringa’s face, after when he had checked with the government only to be told they were no longer interested in doing business with him.
And just merely because Ringa had rushed into the deal without minding to work on the legal niceties surrounding it, he would find it a tall order to fix the government legally after the breach of the contract had arisen.
And even without saying it, the financers who had issued out loans to Ringa would finally come knocking on the borrower’s door. What the financers were now paying Ringa wasn’t just a courtesy call. It was rather a rude call to demand for their money back plus big interest.
But where was Ringa who had not earned from the loans, was now being expected again to get the money and big interest from and pay back his financers?
Yet the bankers weren’t in the mood to know or listen to any such excuses. All they wanted was none but their money. Look here, Ringa was in big trouble.
Suffice it to mention that would mark the beginning of the end of Ringa’s hitherto flourishing business empire. The one that had before then , comprised, among others, of a steadfast automobile franchise plus a construction firm.
One by one of Ringa’s businesses, starting with Afro Motors itself, would start crumbling like a house of cards. Afro Motors has since closed doors altogether in Uganda
Before we knew it, his palace-like residence in Kololo, would be sold off by Ringa’s financers. It is now home to one of Kabojja Junior group of schools.
That this residence can accommodate a school, would go miles to demonstrate how massive this residence had been and how wealthy Ringa himself had been.
To be fair to the president, he would pay out what he called an ex-gratia donation amounting to shillings 981m to the former minister over the loss of Afro Motors.
While the attorney general had discouraged the government from paying out that money, the president used his prerogative of power and ordered State House to make those payments between 2002 and 2004.
Fare Well Thee Well Patrick Ringa Okumu