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Red Pepper on the brink after offices are advertised for sale over debts

The office premises of Pepper Publications Limited, the publishers of popular tabloid, Red Pepper could be sold unless the company clears its outstanding debt totalling to billions of shillings.

The Red Pepper Premises

The premises are located at Namanve, along Kampala-Jinja road.

According to a notice of intended sale by Part Property and Assets Recovery Trust, placed in the newspapers, the two story main building and the printery/warehouse will be sold to recover money the money.

“The occupants are herby directed to vacate the immovable property within 14 days from the date of this advert. Failure shall lead to forceful eviction at your own cost and embarrassment,” read part of the advert.

Sources told us that the company has been battling debts some of which were accrued from costs of various legal suits which they lost.

According to a former senior employee of the firm is indebted to a tune of at least Shs 10 billion to suppliers and other debtors especially people who sued them and were awarded damages by court.

Prominent among these are former speaker Rebecca Kadaga and former chief Justice, Wako Wambuzi.

Kadaga and Wambuzi won defamation suits against the publication and were awarded hundreds of millions of shillings.

To navigate some of the legal battles, the tabloid changed its name to Daily Pepper last year, sources told us.

When it came onto the scene in the early 2000s, Red Pepper dramatically altered the media and cultural landscape with its bold, no-holds-barred and graphical reporting style. Its founders were young, ambitious and reckless, traits that many successful business people possess.

It faced a lot of criticism from religious and cultural conservatives but it held firm until it established itself in the mainstream.

However, like many media organisations, Red Pepper took a hit due to growth of the internet, rise in popularity of social media platforms and the advent of inexpensive smart phones.

On social media, anyone with a smart phone and internet connection became a publisher and a purveyor of gossip, a field that Red Pepper had dominated for years.

Then came the suits and later, a temporary shut down by government. The business stuttered. Now it is on the brink.

Published by Francis L'Oyet

A Ugandan Media Proprietor, Software Engineer, Creative Technologist and Investigative Journalist

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