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Business

USA’s Donald Trump is Uganda’s Sudhir Ruparelia

Sudhir Ruparelia and Donald Trump they both come two different ends of the world but are both filthy rich in any terms. One could question the means they have deployed to earn their moneys, but then they are just human and if the evolution theory by Darwin is to come to play survival for the fittest. Then both Sudhir and Trump have tried to be fit in terms of looking for money. I want to take a closer look at both men going back from their past, careers and the controversies along.

I will start with the Ugandan, Sudhir Ruparelia was born in Kabatoro Kasese District in the west of Uganda in 1956. Like Donald Trump his great-grandparents moved to a new place or continent. For Sudhir they come from India to Kenya then settled in Uganda. Actually his grandfather was born in Uganda in 1918 and his father in 1932. That make him Ugandan enough.

You could say he grow up in a small family of two sisters and one brother, so they were just four. He had his early education in Uganda. After Idi Amin had that dream that lead to what many call the expelling of Asians from Uganda in 1972. His family moved to the United Kingdom. Have ever thought about why most of them moved to the UK and Canada instead of Asia? He was 16 at that time and he completed A-Levels in the UK marking the end of his education.

Sudhir Ruparelia returned to Uganda in 1985 after the civil war that brought Museveni into power in 1986. Who moves to a country that is recovering from a full scale civil war? An economic opportunist?  A shroud business man? Or someone who has love for a place he was born, home? What we know he did business when he returned. Reason: maybe because he was tired of working in supermarkets, factories and butcheries in the UK.  On his return he started importing alcohol products from Kenya, since Uganda had been busy at war as factories had gone to the dogs.

Not long after his return and trading the policy on alcohol importation changed. There was a ban put in place in 1989 to encourage locals to go into brewing. For Sudhir it was like a huddle in his business career, but him being an opportunist he had to change strategy. His supply chain had had foreigners downstream consuming his beers which implies that if he had made some money in the venture he had some foreign currency on him and his next venture was that way. I can say he is the father of Uganda’s forex markets. He started Crane Forex Bureau and that is how he ended up in the financial sector. Today he is a chairman and majority shareholder in Companies of Ruparelia Group. Like Donald Trump in the States, he is one of Uganda’s Hoteliers and Real estate developers. I think they also have broadcasting in common.

Forbes at some point put him in the billionaires club but he has since dropped out, with his resent business misfortunes. Toward the end of 2016 the Bank of Uganda which has the duty to regulate bans in the country took over of his Crane Bank which was the largest subsidiary of the Ruparelia Group. Later in 2017 the Bank of Uganda was at his door again this time to shut down four of his Forex Bureaus in what they described as capital inadequacy issues.

He has made what one would call a comeback in business through Crane Management Services (CMS) another of his many subsidiaries with the unveiling Kingdom Kampala a new mega mixed mall to grace the skyline of Kampala. The all project has taken 10 years, with a number of scandals along the way including demolishing a school. But this time Sudhir was the messiah of the project.

Like Trump, Sudhir has a family. He has a wife Jyotsna ant they have three children of which two of their kids are involved in largely in their conglomerate. Something else he has in common with the billionaire president.

Donald Trump of late he has been mocked about offering advice to Boeing when at one time he tried to operate an airlines but it collapsed like many of his business ventures have. He has filed for bankruptcy about 30 times in his life. Before we look at his business career up evils lets we look at his brief fishy background, since it seems he has always had scandals around him. He was born Donald John Trump in 1946, about a decade before Sudhir Ruparelia. Trumps grandparents come from Germany and the other from Scotland to settle in America. The story of his ancestors and his parents is a long one. Like Sudhir Ruparelia Trump too grew up with a few siblings making them five only. One of his sisters a former judge has her own tax scandals, it must run in the family.

Trump grow up in New York State and he went to school earlier on in Queens to seventh grade. At 13 he was going to New York Military Academy, I wonder why he didn’t go Vietnam later in life, another scandal he has to live with. He had his higher education at Fordham University but later dropped out to go to Wharton School where he graduated with a B.S in economics.

He gained control of his family’s real estate business in 1971, which he gave a new name from E. Trump & Sons to the Trump Organization. He had a geographical impact on it, moving from Queens and Brooklyn too Manhattan. The company built or renovated skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, mostly by licensing his name. He managed the company until he became president of the USA in 2017. So unlike Sudhir Ruparelia Trump had something to start on, some have even suggested he was a millionaire since he was 8 years?

His side ventures included Sports, Trump Shuttle, Miss Universe, Trump University some of which were a success and others were not. For example Trump University which was training real estate people was forced to change name to Trump Entrepreneurial Institute because it did not meet the description of a university or wait Sudhir operates real schools some of the best in Uganda and a University so he beats Trump at that. For the Trump shuttle, 1988, Trump bought the Air-Shuttle, including 21 planes and landing rights at three airports in New York City, Boston, and the Washington, D.C., area, from Eastern Airlines which had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He financed the purchase price of $380 million through 22 banks. The airline operated as the Trump Shuttle from 1989 to 1992, offering charter services in addition to scheduled shuttle flights. It lost money from the start, and its control reverted to the banks in mid-1990. It was sold to USAir Group in 1992.

By April of last year Trump and his businesses had been involved in more than 4,000 state and federal legal actions, according to a running tally by USA Today. As of 2016, he or one of his companies had been the plaintiff in 1,900 cases and the defendant in 1,450. With Trump or his company as plaintiff, more than half the cases have been against gamblers at his casinos who had failed to pay off their debts. With Trump or his company as a defendant, the most common type of case involved personal injury cases at his hotels. In cases where there was a clear resolution, Trump’s side won 451 times and lost 38. A total of 19 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct as of December 2017.

1982, Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals as having a share of his family’s estimated $200 million net worth. By then Sudhir Ruparelia had not returned to Uganda to start his business journey that got him on the Forbes list. His financial losses in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from the list between 1990 and 1995, and reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings’ trusts in 1993. In its 2019 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump’s net worth at $3.1 billion. During the three years since Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots. When he filed mandatory financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in July 2015, Trump claimed a net worth of about $10 billion; however FEC figures cannot corroborate this estimate because they only show each of his largest buildings as being worth over $50 million, yielding total assets worth more than $1.4 billion and debt over $265 million. Trump reported hundreds of millions of dollars of yearly income from 2014 to 2018. Trump stated in a 2007 deposition, “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.”

Trump has five children from three marriages, as well as nine grandchildren. In 1977, Trump married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková, they had three children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump’s affair with actress Marla Maples.

In October 1993, Maples gave birth to Trump’s daughter, who was named Tiffany. Maples and Trump were married two months later in December 1993. They divorced in 1999, and Tiffany was raised by Marla in California.

In 1998, Trump met Slovenian model Melania Knauss. She became his third wife, in 2006, she gained United States citizenship and gave birth to a son, Barron. Melania became First Lady when Trump took office as president in January 2017.

Upon his inauguration, Trump delegated the management of his real estate business to his two adult sons, Eric and Don Jr. His daughter Ivanka resigned from the Trump Organization and moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband Jared Kushner. She serves as an assistant to the President, and he is a Senior Advisor in the White House.

So Sudhir Ruparelia and Donald Trump have all achieved a lot in their lives respectively. Sudhir may not have problems with URA the tax regulators in Uganda yet like Trump who has tax issues running in his blood. Sudhir too has no social scandals like Trump and the Stomy Daniels.

For an African to hit the Forbes list that is enough in life, let’s remember he was once in exile. But he is still live and at his age anything can happen since he was born in Uganda even before independence, he has had a big contribution to the country from setting up his first forex exchange platform, to his mastery in education we can’t imagine Kampala without Kampala Parents and what it has evolved into. Maybe like Trump he could try his luck at politics and for Billionaires only one political office can hold them, the top most in the country. The world is not ending.   For Trump his biggest achievement is for sure staying in the white  house but it could also be his worst night mere now that he is talking about extending his term because of the many scandals he has faces that have made him think he has not got enough time to do his job as president well.

Benjamin Watch

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