MYSTERIOUS MAN: At the beginning of the year, the name Bryan White would not ring any bell. But two months ago, out of nowhere, we were getting stories of a new tycoon who had invaded Jack Pemba’s kafunda. Real name Brian Kirumira, Bryan White has been linked to many things, some unscruplous. Lawrence Ogwal caught up with the guy.
Where has Bryan White been?
I have been around like any other person. I used to hang out in different places around town. The only difference is that I left the country three years ago to go and stay with my family in Italy. I was only lucky that I was my father’s heir and it is the reason I came back and now many people know me.
Are you returning to Italy anytime soon?
Life in Italy is not better than that in Uganda. I will only go back for a few months and come back since I left behind businesses that require my monitoring.
What was the cause of the bitter exchange between you and Jack Pemba at Fusion AutoSpa?
I identified Fusion AutoSpa as one of my favourite bars when I returned to Uganda. I was only disrespected and provoked by Jack Pemba. I kept my cool because I am not into wars, if I wanted to start a war to become famous, I would be fighting with people like Kirumira and other rich people. Recently, I found Pemba seated in the same bar, same spot but I did not ask his group to move. We all deserve the same respect because we do not own the bar; your money is yours, and it does not help any other person.
Do you regard yourself rich?
The media is not promoting the good things that I am doing; they want the bad side, comparing me to people like Mbuga. I am not rich, people only push you to the socialite life. I am a philanthropist, I want to help the whole country but I cannot, I want more people like Bryan White to come and join hands to help people.
December is around the corner and Ugandans from abroad are coming to splash money, where should we find you?
Do not expect me at parties. I go out but I do things in the right time. I have to be in Karamoja, I do not have time to retaliate. I did not come to show off, I came to help. Our country is doing badly, I am not the richest, I have seen rich people. In January, I am going to start giving out seeds to future farmers. Do not expect me in wars, such as dealings of people coming back from abroad to splash money.
How true is it that you deal in drugs?
This is landing someone in problems. Drugs are not a simple thing like food; calling you a drug dealer is one thing that can land someone in trouble. I therefore would not see myself dealing in drugs. You cannot deal in drugs in Uganda and get as much money as the amount they are talking about.
What is your relationship with Salim Saleh?
When many people saw a photo of me with Salim Saleh, they thought otherwise. They have always linked me to drugs and they said my money is from dirty works. Salim Saleh is a respected man in Uganda and I do not think he would want to associate with a criminal.
You did not answer the question, what is your relationship with Saleh?
President Museveni is known for giving out money to a group of youth, so I wanted to ask him on how better to do it but since he has a busy schedule, I opted to approach Salim Saleh. He was the one who told me to start identifying a group of youth and work with them. I also have projects that I am doing with him.
What exactly do you do for a living?
Many people said I sold pigs to get money, others say I sell drugs, others say it is President Museveni’s money, but I do not know Museveni on a personal level. Others say I am spending tax payers’ money, which is okay because I take back the money to charity. But I do a lot of business, although I would not want to mention all of them. I will only mention that I buy old houses, renovate them and sell them at a high price. There are many other businesses but I will keep them a secret.
You claim you help Ugandans but you go with the media everywhere. Is it for showbiz?
If they were not on TV or newspaper, you would not know. Do you know why government money is lost? It is because they do not go with journalists to keep record. The President is always saying he gave money to people but those people say they never receive the money because it is not on record.
Who is Bryan White ?
Bryan White was born Brian Kirumira, 33 years ago. I do not always want to talk about my father because he left my siblings and I with my mother and then went to stay with his other family. I went to Mityana Public School for my primary education then joined Central College School for my secondary before I joined Makerere University for a Bachelor’s degree in Law but I studied for just one semester.
Why didn’t you finish school?
When I was in school, my mother, who was married to an Italian rich man left with my sister to stay in Italy. It was three years ago when my big sister Sara Nakakande called me to go and help manage some of the businesses in Italy since my mother had passed on. Shortly, my step father also passed on and I was surprised that he had made me his heir. His son Emmanuel Claudio, whom he had with my mother had also passed on so they left me to take care of his riches.
Why did you come back yet you were swimming in riches?
I was not used to the way of life in Italy, the food, the weather and everything else made me sick. I stayed there for a week and left because I could not manage but they called me back. It was after getting used and seeing the businesses running, that I decided to come back to Uganda.
Do you have businesses in Uganda?
I have just settled in Uganda but I am setting up a juice manufacturing factory in Kapeeka and I have a tile manufacturing company coming up. All these are going to be in Kapeeka.
What were you doing before travelling to Italy?
I was unemployed but I was not living a miserable life. My sister would provide anything that I wanted since she was staying in Italy with my mother and stepfather.