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Company to pay Sh7.1 million for the sins of owner, 20 years later

By Everlyne Kwamboka | Jun 2nd 2019 | 2 min read
By Everlyne Kwamboka | June 2nd 2019

A verbal decision made by a business mogul on a Sh220 million property in Uganda has come back to haunt his company years after his death.

Bobmil Properties Limited has been ordered to pay Davidson Maina T/A Bills Consults Sh7.1 million with interest for a Bill of Quantities (BQ) he prepared for the company’s chairman, the late Bharat Nathanlal (Bobby) Shah.

This is after three appellate judges set aside a High Court decision that had absolved the company from paying Mr Maina, a quantity surveyor, the money for a deal he entered into with Shah in October 1997.

Shah is said to have given Maina oral instructions to prepare for him a BQ for a block of flats and a health club he intended to build on one of his pieces of land in Kampala, Uganda. This was after architects and engineers produced architectural and structural drawings.

In line with the agreement, Maina prepared the BQ before the tender stage and based it on an estimated project cost of Sh220 million.

He then forwarded his fee note of Sh4.1 million to Shah based on the cost of the project but was asked to handle the tender valuations, where he chose the lowest bidder at Sh284 million.

This increased the fee note to Sh7.1 million, a figure Shah refused to settle on August 19, 1998 on the grounds that the fee could only be paid after commencement and funding of the project, adding he was only ready to pay Sh25,000.

Maina is said to have responded to Shah’s letter that the Sh25,000 was in bad taste and could not even cover the amount he spent on telephone charges during the preparation of the BQs.

“This coming from a client of long standing as yourselves is really disappointing. Surely, even a doctor is paid for more than the cost of the ink and paper he uses to write a prescription,” he said in his letter dated September 30, 1998.

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