Finance (27)

Crane Bank Saga Leaves Bank Of Uganda Naked, Facing Public Scrutiny

Bank of Uganda (BoU) had a torrid 2017 as the Crane Bank saga weighed on the country’s central bank. What began as an everyday activity to supervise and regulate the banking sector when they took over and subsequently sold Crane Bank to DFCU turned out to be a big speck in the Emmanuel Tumusime-Mutebile led regulator’s eye.

As events unfolded and more information made its way into the public domain, it turned out that Bank of Uganda which is mandated by the law to regulate and monitor the banking sector was largely at fault for failing efforts by former Crane Bank owner Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia to recapitalize the commercial bank.

In a defense filed by Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia contesting the fraud charges brought against him by Bank of Uganda, the businessman denied all fraud charges and wrong doing which reportedly caused Crane Bank to lose about Ushs400Bn. The businessman tasked Bank of Uganda to prove their allegations.

To settle the scores, mediation between Crane Bank and the businessman was suggested. The mediation proceeding have yield more positives for Sudhir Ruparelia than Bank of Uganda. Information coming through indicate that Bank of Uganda was incompetent and failed to execute their mandate something that worried the public.

Claims of corruption and conflict of interest made rounds in public domain. At one point a private citizen sued the central bank for incompetence and supposed conflict of interest.

Some sections of the public wonder why Bank of Uganda rushed to sell off Crane Bank yet the owners, the Ruparelia Group, were looking for reinvestment capital. Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, who founded the bank in 1995, and is a leading and renowned investor in the country, maintained a leading role in bank’s growth.

The lack of clarity of issues contested and bizarreness of how the central bank handled the Crane Bank issue was a big concern to many experts in the banking sector with many predicting a collapse in the banking sector. This saga in the long run has kept significant numbers of bank users away from the banking halls as many withdrew their money and kept it home or on mobile money.

Since 2015, Bank of Uganda has closed down more than three commercial banks. In the process, many customers lost their money and businesses. The warring manner in which Crane Bank was taken over and sold was a worry to bank users.

Many people lost trust in commercial banks and Bank of Uganda. They felt safe with their monies in their houses instead of commercial banks that would be closed down easily.

Bank of Uganda reportedly spent four billion shillings (Shs4bn) on lawyers and auditors while pursuing Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia in the Crane Bank saga. The money was reportedly paid to a local law firm Messrs. MMAKS Advocates and two international audit and accounting firms, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) in legal and ‘management’ costs, respectively.

However the money that was spent to MMAKS Advocates and David Mpanga from FK Mpanga and Company Advocates was money wasted. In late December, tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia received an early Christmas present from the justice system after the high court disqualified the two firms due to “conflict of interest” and “breach of advocate-client relationship”.

The commercial division of the high court ruled that lawyers David Mpanga and Kanyerezi Masembe who previously represented Crane Bank were privy to confidential information regarding Sudhir and that this information could be used to the businessman’s disadvantage.

Sudhir Ruparelia represented by Kampala Associated Advocates also argued that the lawyers are principal witnesses in the Crane Bank Case. This gave Sudhir Ruparelia the first round win he needed. Bank of Uganda is now represented by Sebalu, Lule & Co. Advocates.

While it is too early to predict what will come out of the mediation, one thing for sure is that the battle will be with us for a long time. Also this case will set for this country a big precedent on how commercial banks should manage their operations and how Bank of Uganda regulates the sector.

KCB Trains Agency Banking Players

KCB Bank Uganda has trained potential banking agents in preparation for the roll out of agency banking services to Ugandans.  According to Michael Ssekyondwa, the KCB Agency and Digital Finance Manager, the bank is expecting to officially start agency banking services early next year.

“We have taken a lot of time to make sure that we identify quality agents, those who are able to provide infrastructure, premises and invest money in their business and have the capacity to serve our customers,” noted Ssekyondwa “So far, we have 27 agents that have been approved by the Central Bank.

Agency banking is where a commercial bank appoints a third party (agent) to transact business on its behalf. The agent could be a petrol station, a retail or hardware shop, a supermarket, among others.

According to Bank of Uganda, Agency Banking is expected to stimulate financial inclusion and deepen the financial sector. Customers will now be able to deposit, effect withdrawals and carry out other transactions through the bank agents.

In addition to training agents in preparation for the roll out, the bank has also invested in a robust system technology.

“We know that for agency banking to work to successfully, it has to be anchored on a very stable and strong platform and we have done a lot of groundwork to test our systems to avoid any system failures.”

According to Ssekyondwa, agency banking is still a new concept in the market and a learning area for both bankers and agents. “There is still a lot of knowledge gaps,” he notes “We need to bridge these gaps by constantly training our agents for them to appreciate how the agency banking channel is going to operate,”

Senteza Musa, one of the KCB agents present during the training noted that agency banking will increase traffic into his printing business which he can turn into sales meaning additional revenue for his business. “I now know how a point of sale machine will work, I have also learnt the kind of services that I will offer to my customers who want to bank,” he notes “I hope that my printing business will make additional profits because of agency banking.”

Goldstar Ends 2017 On The High, Rated A+ By Global Credit Ratings

In a year that not many insurance services providers gained ground and the industry registered mergers and takeovers, Goldstar Insurance Company Limited’s rating at A+ by Global Credit Ratings comes as a breath of fresh air.

Mid this year, Global Credit Ratings affirmed the national scale claims paying ability rating assigned to Goldstar Insurance Company Limited at A+(UG), with the outlook accorded as Stable. Global Credit Ratings says the rating is valid until June 2018.

Global Credit Ratings reveals that Goldstar’s risk adjusted capitalization viewed to be very strong, underpinned by well contained exposure to insurance and market risks was one reason it was given such a positive rating.

“In this respect, the insurer’s international solvency margin equated to a very high 322% at FY16 (FY15: 363%). Sound internal capital generation is likely to sustain robust risk adjusted capital adequacy over the rating horizon,” it said.

Also Goldstar earnings remained at very strong levels throughout the review period, supported by robust underwriting profitability.  Very strong underwriting profitability was predominantly a function of a well contained net incurred loss ratio, coupled with very favourable net commission recoveries.

The liquidity profile of Goldstar was viewed to be strong, supported by very strong liquidity metrics. Similarly, Goldstar’s competitive positioning is moderately strong, and this is expected persist over the rating horizon.

“The insurer reflects a market share of 5.4%, and a relative market share of 1.1x. This is supported by a fairly well diversified gross earnings stream. Nonetheless, the risk base is heavily geared towards motor business, which accounted for 68% of net premium volumes in FY16 (FY15: 47%; FY14: 74%).

However, this is partly offset by the low product risk associated with this line. Furthermore, certain specialist lines of business, while remaining relatively constrained on a net premium basis, offer the insurer relevant diversification benefits,”

Global Credit Ratings (“GCR”) trace its origins back to 1996 when it was established as the African Arm of the New York Stock Exchange-listed Duff & Phelps. GCR has since established itself as the market leader, accounting for the majority of all ratings accorded on the African continent.

Wasteful BoU Spent Shs4billion On Lawyers, Auditors In Crane Bank Case

The case between Bank of Uganda and Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the former proprietor of Crane Bank( in receivership), a commercial bank which was sold off to DFCU Bank early this year, is knocking out the central bank financially yet the case hasn’t even taken off.

New information emerging in various media outlet indicate that Bank of Uganda spent four billion shillings (Shs4bn) on lawyers and auditors while pursuing Dr. Sudhir instead of Shs300m it told while they appeared before parliament.

Joseph Masembe's MMAKS was paid sums of money by BoU

The money was reportedly paid to a local law firm Messrs. MMAKS Advocates and two international audit and accounting firms, PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC) and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) in legal and ‘management’ costs, respectively.

In a report published by Eagle Online, a local news website, BoU paid out a total of US$804.094 to law firm Messrs. MMAKS Advocates in December 2016 and May 2017 in respect to Crane Bank, in transactions initiated by Citi Bank in New York, with Barclays Bank PLC in New York as the ‘intermediary institution’ and the BoU as the ‘ordering customer’ referenced as number 099276065.

The money, according to Eagle Online, was paid in two installments, with the first disbursement of US$166, 796 paid out as ‘professional fees’ on December 14, 2016 under sender’s (Citi Bank) Ref. No. 991FOCT163490002, and the second installment of US$804, 098 disbursed on May 11, 2017 under sender’s (Citi Bank) Ref. No. 991FOCT171310022.

And, according to a ‘Tax Invoice/Debit Note/ Pro forma Invoice’ by MMAKS Advocates dated November 28, 2016 and titled ‘Transaction Advice IRO to take over of Crane Bank Limited’, the law firm sought US$230.000 as ‘professional fees’ at the ‘pre take over stage on the intervention in Crane bank Limited’ (“CBL”), and of the said money the first disbursement of US$166.796 is made reference to, leaving an outstanding balance of US$75, 313.

As for KPMG, in an October 24, 2016 letter to Benedict Sekabira, the BoU Director Commercial Banking, the accounting firm detailed the payments to be made to its four staff members who were to offer ‘technical support’ to the BoU team in respect to the management of Crane Bank after take over.

BoU also came out to deny that they hadn’t paid any money to MMAKS advocates in a press statement, BoU only acknowledged the filing fees.

In the letter titled ‘Letter confirming terms of engagement for provision of technical support to Bank of Uganda team at Crane Bank Limited’, KPMG demanded that it’s three IT Specialists: Moses Kipchirchir, Raymond Mugo and David N Waweru, and one Financial Specialist, Jonah Mwanja, be paid US$800 per day for an unspecified period of time.

The figure was later revised downwards to US$650 a day, and according to the specimen signature on the letter referenced B004/bmn/mk and received by Sekabira on October 26, 2016, only one person signed to receive the money on behalf of the four KPMG specialists.

In the letter, it is not clear how long the duration of the technical support was. However, in a letter to the Executive Director Supervision dated March 24 KPMG with Kaindi Kalyesula Wilson as the reference person, and through Tax Invoice No. 631F07143 demanded from BoU US$83, 611.33, ‘being Professional fees for the months of November, December and January for support and monitoring at Crane Bank Uganda Limited’.

As for PriceWaterhouse Coopers, on December 6, 2016, the audit firm ‘Tax Invoiced’ BoU US$243.000 under invoice number KLA 36200850, in respect to ‘investigative and forensic review services of ‘Project Nyonyi’, the name adopted by BoU and PwC in respect to the Crane Bank post-closure management. The Invoice was issued against Credit Notes KLA 36200849 and KLA 36200820.

On the same day, PwC issued Tax Invoice no. KLA 36200851, making reference to UgShs286, 650, 000 charges for ‘Progressive fee note of the compilation and agreed upon procedures engagement of Crane Bank Limited as at 20 October, 2016’. Part payment of UgShs200, 655, 000 and the disbursement was made against Credit Notes KLA 36200841 and KLA 36200813.

Further, on December 16, 2016, PwC through Tax Invoice 36200873, made the final fee note demand of UgShs91 million and VAT of 16, 522, 610, bringing the total to UgShs 108, 314, 888.

And early this week, it emerged that the BoU had engaged the services of another law firm, Messrs. Sebalu and Lule Company Advocates, to represent its interest in the imminent mediation, a development that is likely to make the bill shoot up.

Victory For Sudhir As Bank of Uganda Dumps Preferred Law Firm

The battle between Bank of Uganda (BoU) and Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, now in courts of law, took a new twist on Monday when the Central Bank appeared in court for pre-negotiation talks with a new legal team from Sebalu Lule & Co. Advocates offering the businessman another litigation victory.

Bank of Uganda who accuse Sudhir, the former owner of Crane Bank, of mismanaging the commercial bank, were at the start of this court battle represented by Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi of MMAKS Advocates and David Mpanga from FK Mpanga and Company Advocates, an issue the businessman protested because the two law firms once represented companies in which he has shares and interests.

The Central Bank snatched Crane Bank from its founder, Sudhir, accusing him of siphoning money from the bank he founded in 1995. The central bank also hauled the businessman to court in an attempt to recover the alleged lost money hence the court battle at hand.

Sudhir demanded that court stops MMAKS Advocates and FK Mpanga and Company Advocates from representing BoU. He suggested instead be named as witnesses. Sudhir also blames BoU for flouting key terms of a Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement (CSRA) he signed with the Central Bank.

MMAKS Advocates and FK Mpanga and Company Advocates sets the Central Bank a step back while by doing so Sudhir gets a moral authority and exposes the BoU as a not honest institution fit to supervise the banking sector.

Already Bank of Uganda came under scrutiny from public and banking sector expert for failing to supervise commercial banks in the country. Uganda has seen about five commercial banks closing shop under the watch of the Central Bank.

Issues of corruption, bias and conflicting rose when Bank of Uganda took over management of Crane Bank which by the then was the third largest bank by assets. Crane Bank was later sold to DFCU Bank, a commercial bank in which employees of BoU under their saving scheme own substantial shares.

Did Bank of Uganda sell Crane Bank to DFCU with sincere honesty? That is a question that rises up when this topic comes up for discussion especially that the Central Bank didn’t disclose the sales amount that crossed hands between the seller and the buyer.  

Meanwhile, the Principle judge Yorakamu Bamwine has taken over as the new mediator in a case between Sudhir and Bank of Uganda. Bamwine's appointment comes after the parties in the case rejected the earlier appointed mediator Harriet Magala. .

Justice Bamwine met Sudhir, his son Rajiv Ruparelia, his lawyer Peter Kabatsi  and Bank of Uganda supervision Director Justine Bagyenda for an hour closed-door  discussion Monday afternoon.

KCB Bank Promises Revolutionary Agent Banking

The KCB Board Chairman Aga Sekalala Jr said the next ten years will see heavy investment in agency banking as a way of deepening the bank’s presence and relevance in Uganda.

“The next years will see heavy investment in digital platforms as we increasingly create more convenience for our customers but also equally purposeful growth in our retail space through agent banking which we will be launching any time now.” He was speaking at a customer dinner held at Kampala Serena Hotel

The dinner which marked 10 years of KCB Bank in the Ugandan market was graced by the Deputy Bank of Uganda Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende, the KCB Group CEO, Mr Joshua Oigara and the Bank Board of Directors.

The KCB Bank Uganda managing director Joram Kiarie said the decade long journey has provided wonderful memories and witnessed the building of useful and lifelong business relationships with customers.

KCB Bank Uganda opened its first branch on Commercial Plaza, Kampala Road in November 2007 and has since opened a total of 16 branches, eight of them in Kampala and eight others in major towns around Uganda in Jinja, Mbale, Lira, Gulu, Arua, Hoima, Fort Portal and Mbarara.

KCB has grown its asset base to UGX 717 billion, from UGX 59 billion ten years ago with gross loans of up to UGX 231 billion issued to date.

The deputy governor, bank of Uganda Dr. Louis Kasekende reiterated the impact of technology in the financial sector services. “Financial services providers need to innovate continuously for them to remain competitive in the face of technological advancement,” in the next decade, the whole sector is going to be characterized by adoption of new technologies,” noted Kasekende.

Why Former Crane Bank Employees Are Suing DFCU Bank

It has not been smooth sailing for DFCU Bank ever since it took over the operations of Crane Bank early this year. The latest turbulence is the move by ex-employees of the defunct Crane Bank to sue DFCU for wrongfully terminating their employment.

The High Court in Kampala on Monday granted permission to over 400 ex-employees of Crane Bank to sue DFCU Bank for wrongful termination. Ten ex-Crane Bank employees were allowed by the deputy registrar in charge of civil matters Sarah Langa to file a representative suit on behalf of their colleagues with similar interests.

In the suit, the ex-Crane Bank employees, including former managers, tellers and cleaners are seeking monetary compensation to the tune of Shs6bn in damages resulting from their lose of employment. Their employment was terminated a month after DFCU took over Crane Bank was founded by Sudhir Ruparelia in 1995.

The former employees claim life has been tough since they were unfairly dismissed following DFCU’s take-over of Crane Bank. DFCU had promised not to fire them.

Former employees of Crane Bank talking to the media

The takeover of Crane Bank by Bank of Uganda, who eventually, as regulators of the financial sector, sold it to DFCU Bank, stirred up the banking sector. The public lost trust in Bank of Uganda as the regulator of the financial sector.

Bank of Uganda Owns DFCU

The takeover and the sale of Crane Bank to DFCU was questioned as the central bank never revealed the worth of the transaction. It has also emerged that Bank of Uganda through Bank of Uganda Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme partly owns DFCU which would tantamount to conflict of interest. One would say Bank of Uganda sold Crane Bank to itself.

The second largest shareholder in DFCU, CDC Group, has over the years been investigated for chasing huge sums of profit at the expense of serving the needs of development.

CDC had allegedly desisted from financing beneficial international development opting to seek for large profits from schemes that enriched CDC’s managers whilst bringing little or no benefit to the poor.

Bank, Telecom Firm Launch Straight2Bank Wallet Collections Service

Standard Chartered Bank and MTN Uganda Limited have signed an agreement to allow MTN Mobile Money collections for Corporate and Business clients directly into their Standard Chartered Bank accounts on a real time basis. This solution is dubbed Straight2Bank Wallet Collections and will be delivered through the Bank’s Straight2Bank electronic banking platform.

Mr. Albert R. Saltson, Standard Chartered Bank’s Chief Executive Officer while delivering his remarks commended the collaboration with MTN Uganda saying the service will enhance the Bank’s client proposition and ability to extend its world-class financial services to clients countrywide.

“One of our strategic aspirations as Standard Chartered Bank is to be the Main Digital Bank for our customers and this commitment is reaffirmed by the launch of the Straight2Bank Wallet Collections solution today.

We will continue to invest in technology to keep pace with local and global developments. As a result the Bank in the recent past set aside USD 1.5 billion to be invested in technology and processes upgrade globally over three years. 

As part of this journey, Standard Chartered Bank Uganda has invested in digital innovations such as; the upgrade of the online banking platform, Launch of the Mobile app, Introduction of mobile wallets, Cash Deposit Machines and the replacement of ATMs across our network.

Client centricity remains a core priority for the Bank as we continue to build on our expertise and capabilities to support clients in capturing the opportunities presented by the global move towards a cashless society.” Saltson said.

While addressing the guests, Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO of MTN Uganda said;

“Since inception, MTN Mobile Money has played a remarkable role in fostering financial inclusion in Uganda. Initially offering a platform for our customers to cash in and cash out, MTN Mobile Money’s service offering has undergone several modifications to include bills and taxes payment, purchase of goods and services, defied existing geographical borders to enable customers to send and receive money internationally in real time.

Just earlier this week, we launched a partnership with National Social Security Fund to enable millions of unbanked Ugandans remit their social security payments to the Fund to save for their future and a better retirement.”

Key features of Straight2Bank Wallet collections are:-

  • Enabling Corporate and Business clients to receive MTN Mobile Money payments directly into their bank account(s) on a real time basis.
  • Automatic, real time email notifications, along with online reporting
  • Risks associated with handling  cash payments are mitigated
  • Promoting financial inclusion

The Head of Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Mr. Keval Bid, added, “The Straight2Bank Wallet Collections solution is another way we are relieving some of the operational pressures of our corporate clients so they can focus more time and energy on running their core businesses more efficiently and profitably.  Standard Chartered currently provides cash management solutions for more than 900 companies in Uganda, with more than 70% of those companies using our award winning online portal, Straight2Bank.” 

In his closing remarks, Dr. Robin Kibuka, Board Chairman for Standard Chartered Bank Uganda thanked MTN Uganda for partnering with Standard Chartered Bank to increase access to financial services and ultimately contributing to Bank of Uganda’s goal of financial inclusion.

He added, “As the pioneers of Mobile Money in Uganda, you helped start a revolution that has increased the penetration of financial services. We are proud to be associated with you and recognise the tremendous contribution you continue to make towards Uganda’s economic growth and individual livelihoods.

To our dear customers, thank you for banking with us. We value your loyalty and pledge to continue innovating and developing solutions that guarantee value for both your businesses and individual growth.”

This service will significantly lower operating costs and risks associated with managing cash, shorten the debt collection period and ultimately help to boost efficiency in the working capital management for Standard Chartered’s corporate clients.


How Bank Of Uganda Failed Sudhir’s Efforts To Rescue Crane Bank

Bank of Uganda which by law is mandated to supervise, offer advice and ensure that commercial banks in Uganda run smoothly by giving them proper guidance sabotaged efforts to save Crane Bank from collapsing, a Written Statement of Defence filed by Kampala Associated Advocates representing businessman Sudhir Ruparelia the proprietor of the now defunct Crane Bank and Meera Investment reveal.

Ruparelia’s defence filing comes a few weeks after the Central Bank through Crane Bank dragged the businessman to court alleging that he fraudulently got money out of Crane Bank leading to its poor performance, loss of core capital and eventual collapsing. Ruparelia was the proprietor and face of Crane Bank. He was a substantial shareholder in the commercial bank.

Sudhir Says He Is Innocent

The Central Bank in their suit says Ruparelia siphoned about Shs400 billion and failed to remit over Shs56billion to NSSF. He is accused of illegally transferring Crane Bank properties to Meera Investment.  The Central Bank wants Ruparelia to repay this money with interest, return the properties on which Crane Bank branches sat and face criminal charges.

Ruparelia vehemently denies any wrong doing. The businessman blames Crane Bank poor performing and struggling to a bad economy which did not only hit Crane Bank but also other banks and other sectors.

“The first defendant (Sudhir Ruparelia) shall contend that at all material times he never breached his duties as a non-executive director and acted in the best commercial interests of the plaintiff,” the defence document reads in part.  

“The Non-Performing Loan ratio only grew substantially as a result of a significant slowed down in the economy, which affected business operation of large borrowers thus eroding the plaintiff's core capital, a situation that was experienced by other financial institutions in Uganda.”

“As a result of the slow-down in the business environment, and the property market, there was an increase in NPAs which resulted in the then Crane Bank becoming under-capitalised and necessitated an additional capital injection,”

“The plaintiff’s [Crane Bank] shareholders injected additional capital of $8million (about Shs30b) and the shareholders sought an equity investor and indeed found partners willing to capitalize the bank,” Ruparelia this did not materialize because Bank of Uganda was disinterested.

Ruparelia believes that the suit against him is intended ‘for the purpose of intimidating, humiliating and blackmailing’ him. He contends that this honourable court cannot lend its process to the blackmail which amounts to an abuse of the court process.

Given No Chance To Save Crane Bank

On the 20th day of October 2016 Bank of Uganda took over the management of Crane Bank alleging that it was undercapitalized and was a threat to the banking sector in the country. On the 20th day of January 2017 Bank of Uganda placed Crane Bank under receivership before a week later, on the 27 of January 2017, sold it to DFCU Bank at an undisclosed sum.

However, Ruparelia approached Bank of Uganda to settle the dispute and between 29 January and 20 March the parties held a series of meetings to amicably resolve the dispute. This led to the signing of Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement ("CSRA") which was binding on 20 March 2017.

Bank Of Uganda Betrays Sudhir

Key among the provisions of the Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement was that Bank of Uganda would not sue Ruparelia over the claims. As we all know a legal battle has been bestowed onto us. Now Ruparelia is accusing the Central Bank of breaching the agreement at a time he had started repaying some of the claimed money. He says he was cooperating.  

As indicated in the defence papers, cClause 7 of the CSRA provides that ‘each party agrees, on behalf of itself and on behalf of the related parties not to sue, commence, voluntarily aid in any way, procure, instigate, prosecute or cause to be commenced or prosecuted against any other party or its related parties any action, suit or other proceedings concerning the released claims, in Uganda or in any other jurisdiction’.

 “The defendants shall contend that, the instant suit was instituted for the purposes of intimidating, humiliating and blackmailing the defendants and shall further contend that, this hounrable court cannot lend its process to blackmail which amounts to an abuse of court process.”

Ruparelia started Crane Bank in 1995 at a time when the economy was in a mess and recovering from the 1980s political turmoil. He built it to become the fourth largest bank by asset worth Shs1.8 trillion.

At the time of putting it under receivership, he was working to beating the bad economic situation and turn it around by injecting in fresh capital. Bank of Uganda didn’t let him do it, they clamped him down.

Inconsistencies In Negotiations

As earlier noted, to save the situation, Ruparelia engaged Bank of Uganda to be allowed to save his bank. However court submission by Ruparelia’s team show that Bank of Uganda had other ideas or was not willing to play by the card.

“Sometime in January 2017, first defendants through his representatives Mr. Kakembo Katende and Mr. Azim Tharani attended a meeting at the offices of MMAKS Advocates together with Mr. Masembe Kanyerezi and David Mpanga. The purpose of this meeting was to share an alleged PWC forensic report indicating the alleged extraction of $80million.

“At the said meeting, Mr. Masembe and Mr. Mpanga declined to share the PWC forensic report but instead rang the PWC ‘auditor’ who allegedly made that allegation, put him on speaker phone and allowed only a few questions. The auditor confirmed on a speaker-phone that the $80million did not leave the plaintiff (Crane Bank) in this alleged transaction.

“The plaint contains excerpts of the report and from those excerpts the first defendant has been able to establish that the alleged forensic report is actually a draft document created by pwc on 13th November 2014.”

Sudhir Makes Demands

Ruparelia at the earliest opportunity seek for disclosure and discovery of all the operating costs that the receiver has incurred since the takeover of Crane Bank. He also demands for accountability from the receiver because none has been communicated which he says is a ‘total violation of the receiver's fiduciary obligations’.

He also seeks disclosure of all documents relating to the agreement between the receiver and DFCU bank and in particular the purchase price of the plaintiff's assets. Ruparelia also contends that ‘the plaintiff is estopped from raising any claims against him since he who comes to equity must do equity and come with clean hands’.

“The first defendant shall contend that he did not commit any frauds as alleged or at all and shall put the plaintiff to strict proof. The first defendant further denies any extraction of money from the plaintiff as alleged or at all and contends that he is not liable to refund or account for any monies as alleged by the plaintiff.”

Visa Announces Support Of New Global QR Code Payment

Early this week, Visa announced its support of the new global QR Code Payment Specifications from EMVCo, the global technical body that manages the EMV Specifications.

The specifications cover consumer-presented and merchant-presented QR code use cases for digital payment acceptance. QR Codes are two-dimensional machine-readable barcodes, used to facilitate mobile payments at the point-of-sale. 

Visa and the other EMVCo Members worked to develop these new globally interoperable EMV specifications. Visa has already successfully enabled the merchant-presented QR technology in 15 countries around the world, with India, Kenya and Nigeria currently live in market with both bank and merchant partners. 

“We’ve already seen tremendous progress towards adoption of standardized, interoperable QR code payment systems in the developing world,” said Sam Shrauger, SVP, Digital Products, Visa.

“We are working with governments and central banks in countries like India to develop and implement QR code payment solutions that provide the convenience and security that are synonymous with Visa and help the journey toward a cashless future.”  

Easy Implementation for Merchants

Visa has enabled the growth of merchant-presented QR code payments around the world with its innovative mobile payments solution, mVisa. mVisa allows consumers to pay for goods and services by scanning a QR code on a smart phone or entering a merchant number into their feature phones.

Payment goes straight from the consumer’s Visa account into the merchant’s account and provides real-time notification to both parties. mVisa is completely interoperable, meaning that the consumer and the merchant do not need to be customers of the same bank. This brings the same convenience, security and reliability provided by the trusted Visa brand. 

For merchants eager to harness of the power of QR code payments, the Visa Ready Program has adopted the interoperable QR standards to develop tools and capabilities which help easy generation and deployment of QR code merchants by banks, processors and merchant aggregators.

Once enrolled, merchants can freely accept payments from any country or bank given mVisa’s interoperability while trusting Visa will securely and efficiently process each transaction. 

QR Code Payments Driving a Cashless Future

As digital payments help continue a shift toward a cashless future, this new global specification is an important step that promotes interoperability and standardizes the fast growing ecosystem of QR code payments across the world. Already, 33 banks and more than 328,000 merchants across India, Kenya and Nigeria have adopted the interoperable standards as they accelerate their QR code digital payment programs. 

“mVisa enables successful completion of the transaction independent of the mobile operator service on both the consumer and the merchants phone, and the consumers and merchant’s banks” said Shrauger. “This addresses a major challenge with mobile money programs, and lets consumers and merchants choose their own bank or mobile operator.” 

Reserve Bank of India has encouraged the adoption of standardized QR code payments to provide access to low-cost, secure digital payments to millions of consumers and merchants. 

Working with our partners, Visa is converting both every day and recurring cash purchases to digital payments through direct integrations with supermarket chains and large utility billers.

By presenting dynamic QR codes to consumers that provide a seamless payment experience, billers such Tata Sky, Idea Cellular, Reliance Energy, Mahanagar Gas, as well as Pizza Hut and supermarket chains Nakumatt, Spar, Zucchini are bringing benefits of digital payments to millions of potential customers.

Visa intends to replicate this success in 12 other countries where mVisa has been enabled: Cambodia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam.



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