While seated in my car, I talked to the landlord who informed me that he was very happy to get a tenant, he was very lenient to even ask how much I wanted to pay for the house. I asked that he lets me pay Shs600,000 instead of Shs700,000 which was his rate.
“No problem, I know you are a young man and you tell me you are a banker that means you won’t be a problem. Even right now, you can pay any money you have and we can start from there. So come to my home and we discuss,” the Landlord told me.
The landlord had told me he is Hajji Huzaifa, and that he is never around to collect rent from his tenants, but he leaves his house in the hands of his wife and son who I should meet. So he asked that I drive quickly to his home with the broker so I meet the family before they could go for prayers at the mosque.
Without hesitation, I stat driving with the broker, who directs me towards a place in Naguru. He is not aware of the house as if, and after a long drive, I ask where I should stop, he points at a gate behind Kampala Parents’ school, a very lonely place.
At this time, I am starting to doubt this entire plan and it all starts looking like a scam plan. I ask my colleagues at the back a message that we are in a setup, and they reply that they have also noticed it. But for some reason I still can’t explain, we keep on following.
Outside the gate, I hoot for the askari, but the broker angrily stops me from hooting one more time; “No don’t hoot, you will wake him up and his dogs, he hates that.” This was strange. He instead says we should call Hajji Huzaifa on the phone which I do.
On calling Huzaiffa, he told me he had left the house for prayers already and that he left behind his son, whom w should hand the money to and sign contracts. The son was not at the house but was at City Oil in Kamwokya and that’s where we should find him. Another strange thing.
When we arrive at City Oil Kamwokya, we called the son who walked out of Javas restaurant with a backpack. We allowed him to sit in the car and let out the broker. In his first speech, I could notice that the son spoke exactly like the father, same accent, same poor English, same pronunciations. At this point, I get ready for him.
He pulls out copied of contracts which were haphazardly written and printed, the contracts neither had the house address, nor the location of the landlord. The contract simply had a phone number of the landlord and even had a wrong amount (Shs500,000 instead of Shs600,000).
The ‘son’ apologized and said that was an error, he then asked that we sign and give him the money we had brought.
At this point, I asked him to produce evidence that he is a son to the Landlord, and also his identification. He pulled a very old Ndejje University Identity Card from the backpack and said he had no other proof of his relation to Hajji Huzaifa since Muslims have huge families.
“I am just one of his sons, we are so many. So I don’t know what proof you want. I also don’t have a national ID, but this is all I have,” he said.
I confiscate the contracts and the ID and tell him straight away that he is a thief. He started shivering and murmuring inaudibly. After some time, he becomes speechless and uneasy, I still don’t know how I let him go but I opened the car door and told him to hop out, I threw his ID at him and retained the contract copies, he had printed several.
On seeing this, the broker also asks that we leave him at City Oil so he finds his way, but we close the car and drive him around City Oil quiet. We rotated around the area with him and he started pleading to be let out.
After about 3 minutes of driving with him quietly, I stop at once and tell him that my intention is to drive him to the police station, but I am giving him one more chance.
“You are a good broker, if you used this knowledge to do clean business, you would be very far. However, if you are doing the wrong business and want to rob people, I am going to give you one more chance, and I will find you. Take this from me, stop this thing you are doing, another person will make you regret.”
The broker murmured an apology and asked that we start afresh with good business. “I will take you to Bugolobi, there are nice houses there. This didn’t go well with you but let me prove myself.”
I opened the door without and showed him out. And before I could speed off, I told him my final words:
“If you are a good person, you will make a lot of money. But if you are a thief like I know now, I am going to find you or someone I know will do and you will not like it.”
We parted ways and I returned to the different houses we had visited to warn the different askaris not to let him in again or at the very least, arrest him on sight… you will not believe what the Askari’s told me…
Part 3 of the series will run on Sunday.
The series is a true story adapted from a banker, Benard Ssentongo, as told to Nelson Bwire Kapo ( a private contributor of Nile Post)