Some call Harish Jagtani the “Indian Dan Gertler”, after the sulphurous Israeli businessman, friend of Joseph Kabila. The former head of state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has denied any relationship with this Indian businessman. However, in less than 15 years, Harish Jagtani has built an empire in the land of Joseph Kabila which also benefits his relatives and associates. The Indian businessman sent us a right of reply on May 21 to the many questions raised by RFI before the publication of our survey on May 7.
To follow, this Friday, May 21, 2020 on RFI, the continuation of this investigation entitled: “The fabulous destiny of the Indian Harish Jagtani and his relatives”, with new revelations.
Harish Jagtani claims, through his lawyers, that he ” is not a close relation nor an intermediary for the former President of the Republic, Joseph Kabila, which he does not personally know ” A series of photos since obtained by RFI shows the Indian businessman and his family with the former DRC First Lady, Olive Lembe di Sita, during family celebrations and dinners.
Harish Jagtani also denies ” be the financial backer for any high profile person »When in the RFI investigation published on May 7, relatives and rivals mentioned names of Congolese officials who had invested in its towers.
His company Modern Construction is ” active since 2007 and has to his credit for more than 20 completed projects and 5 in progress ” The Kiyo Ya Sita Tower “ does not, as suggested, belong to the former presidential family ”
As for the renovation of the Senate plenary hall, Harish Jagtani points out that he ” has been strictly enforced the regulations on public procurement ” The Indian businessman assures us that these works have not been overcharged and that they remain ” unpaid to date ”
With regard to the allegations relating to the transport of arms and ammunition by Services Air, now Serve Air Cargo, one of the first carriers in the country, Harish Jagtani acknowledges that the company has sometimes been ” abused by people who loaded equipment such as weapons or ammunition. These abuses, when they were discovered, were the subject of denunciations ”
Harish Jagtani’s full right of reply sent to RFI on May 21, 2020 after our investigation of May 7, 2020, signed Sonia Rolley, published on our site under the title “DRC: Harish Jagtani, the Indian businessman” friend “of the Kabila? “:
“ Ms. Rolley published an article about Mr. Harish Jagtani, May 7, 2020, on the RFI website. The article is illustrated with a photo of M. President Joseph Kabila and his wife and other officials of the Republic. This article calls for this right of reply from Mr. Jagtani, because it contains many erroneous assertions likely to damage its reputation.
Active in Africa and particularly in the DRC for more than two decades, M. Jagtani has developed economic and commercial activities essentially around three areas: the hospital sector (HJ Hospitals), air transport (Serve Air Cargo) and building construction (Modern Construction).
Mr. Jagtani claims that he is not a close friend or an intermediary of the former President of the Republic, M. Joseph Kabila that he does not know him personally. He denies being the author of financial portage for any high personality whatsoever.
The article reports on the work carried out in the premises of the Senate, commissioned by the President of this institution, Mr. Alexis Thambwe Mwamba, within the framework of a market of 4 million US $. It is suggested, in a disparaging manner for all stakeholders, that they would have been carried out without respecting the legal rules and regulatory provisions in force. The order and the very fast execution of these works (in three shifts per day) are part of the perspective, known to the public, of the holding of the Congress called a few weeks ago to be convened. In this context, M. Jagtani points out that the regulations on public procurement have been strictly enforced. The work, pre-funded by his company, was carried out for a billed amount of US $ 3.47 million (excluding taxes), unpaid to date.
Modern Construction has been active since 2007 and has to its credit more than 20 completed projects and 5 ongoing projects. The construction by Modern Construction of the Kiyo ya Sita tower (formerly Icon Tower) is also mentioned in fallacious terms. The project was ambitious and prestigious. The construction of the tower meets the standards of style and quality of similar projects in large capitals. It is not, as suggested, the family of the former president. Mr. Kinduelo is indeed a stakeholder in the construction project and even a supplier of the land in the framework of a partnership with M. Jagtani. Construction has started as part of this partnership, the two parties providing financing through equity contributions and through bank financing. A subsequent decision to change the use of the building (originally used for offices and then mixed use for offices and private apartments) was taken with a view to making the building more attractive on the market and likely to give greater value to the whole. This change required the raising of additional funds. The parties then entered into litigation, judicial and arbitral, on the amount of the additional investments. This litigation lasted several years and ended in a separation which has not given rise to litigation to date.
The article also suggests that the airline Serve Air Cargo is responsible for arms deliveries in violation of embargo rules. Mr. Jagtani is indeed the owner of this air freight company, whose activity is essential to the economy of the country, given in particular the poor state of the road infrastructure. This company is a reliable operator and respected by local companies but also by international institutions and foreign embassies on behalf of which it performs regular transport. The airline’s annual air cargo tonnage averages 35,000 tonnes, making it one of the top carriers in the country. Fortunately, there have been cases in which the company has been abused by people who have loaded equipment such as weapons or ammunition. These abuses, when they were discovered, were the subject of reports by Serve Air Cargo to the competent authorities, according to the rules in force.
In conclusion, Mr. Jagtani regrets that information taken out of context and presented in a style lacking in neutrality and care could have been disseminated by RFI, the reference information channel, and then taken up by other media. The purpose of this right of reply is to correct this biased presentation of the activities of Mr. Jagtani and his group. “