Bank Of Uganda Injured My Reputation As A Businessman, They Must Pay - Ruparelia Vows

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed, with costs to the respondents, an appeal by Bank of Uganda against businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments, the real estate arm of the Ruparelia Group, bringing to end a five year litigation battle between the businessman and the central bank.

The five justices of Supreme Court including Rubby Opio Aweri, Percy Tuhaise, Ezekiel Muhanguzi,Prof. Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza and Faith Mwondha also ordered that the management of Crane Bank (in receivership) be returned to its shareholders, the original owners.

Now, in an interview with Spy Uganda, a local online news website, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has lamented that Bank of Uganda actions to close Crane Bank and allegation of mismanaging the bank he founded injured his reputation as a businessman.

"I made heavy losses because of Bank of Uganda. My reputation as a businessman was destroyed. I have never failed any business. Bank of Uganda killed my career when they said I had failed my own business, Crane Bank. That has a bearing especially with my business partners,"

He added: "I told you from the beginning that Bank of Uganda stole my bank. I thank the judiciary for not shielding such dubious games. They have to pay costs of the suit right from the commercial court to the Supreme Court,"

When Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia lost Crane Bank over alleged mismanagement, by law, it meant that he cannot open or directly run another financial institution. In fact, because of that, he also lost his forex bureaus.  This, he says, is not good for his name and business.

FINALLY: Supreme Court Dismisses Central Bank Appeal Against Sudhir Henceforth Bringing The Crane Bank Case To An End

Probably the longest litigation battle in Uganda’s financial sector has come to an end after five years with Bank of Uganda, the regulator of the financial sector, coming out of it bruised, hurt and shamed for not knowing how to do its job.

As the public expected, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed, with costs to the respondents, an appeal by Bank of Uganda against businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments, the real estate arm of the Ruparelia Group.

The highest ranking court in the country ordered Bank of Uganda directly pay costs at all court levels, right from the Commercial Division of the High Court. The court also directed that the management of Crane Bank be reverted to its shareholders.

The Supreme Court ruling effectively settles a long-standing legal battle between Sudhir Ruparelia and the central bank, dating back to 2017 when the regulator erroneously took over the management of Sudhir’s Crane Bank and eventually sold it to DFCU Bank.

According to the ruling, Sudhir Ruparelia will not pay the Shs397b that Bank of Uganda had wanted him to pay. This ruling excited Sudhir Ruparelia who over the period of the litigation maintained the Bank of Uganda has stolen his bank.

Crane Bank Limited (in receivership) had sued Sudhir and Meera Investments Limited in the High Court Commercial Division. The bank had sought recovery of money, allegedly misappropriated by Sudhir Ruparelia as a director and shareholder.

The latest ruling was on an application to withdraw an appeal and the party that was supposed to meet the costs of the withdraw of the appeal.

Court Of Appeal Dismisses BoU’s Shs.397b Case Against Sudhir

Businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has won a case in the Court of Appeal in which Bank of Uganda (BoU) contested the ruling of the lower court.

The court upheld the judgment of Commercial Court in an application filed by BoU seeking a refund of UGX 397 billion from Sudhir which he allegedly pulled out from Crane Bank.

“The person (petitioner) should pay cost and that is non other than Bank of Uganda because Margret Kasule filed on behalf of Bank of Uganda. They knew Crane Bank was in receivership as it wasn’t in existence but they went ahead to sue it” read the judgement.

Justice David Wangutusi of Commercial Court in August 2019 this week dismissed a case in which BoU claimed that Ruparelia and his Meera Investments Ltd fleeced his own Crane Bank Ltd (now in receivership) of UGX397 billion.

In his 22-page ruling that was delivered by the court’s deputy registrar, Mr Festo Nsenga, Justice Wangutusi noted that at the time BoU and Crane Bank (in receivership) filed the suit against Mr Ruparelia and his Meera Investments in January 2017, Crane Bank was a non-existing entity, having been terminated when the Central Bank sold its assets to DFCU Bank in October 2016.

The judge ruled that this rendered Crane Bank in receivership incapable of suing or being sued since there would be no assets to be claimed for.

Court noted that the public notice made it clear that BoU as the receiver had done an evaluation of the respondent (Crane Bank in receivership) and arranged for the purchase of its assets and assumption of its liabilities by another financial institution.

“In his [BoU] notice, he specifically stated that the liabilities of the respondent had been transferred to DFCU Bank Ltd and that because DFCU Bank had taken over the liabilities, it would, by way of consideration, be paid by conveying to it the respondent’s assets,” the judge ruled.

Bank of Uganda, through their new attorney Dr. Joseph Byamugisha of Byamugisha & Co Ltd the chose to file an appeal.


Mugume Appointed BoU Deputy Governor Replacing Kasekende

Adam Mugume, who has previously worked as Director of Research at Bank of Uganda, has been appointed by the board of directors Bank of Uganda chaired by governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile as the deputy governor.

Mugume will not assume the responsibilities of the number two at the country’s central bank. The position was previously held by Dr. Louis Kasekende whose last days the bank was marred by corruption scandals.

“In exercise of the duties and powers of the board under section 10 of the Bank of Uganda Act (Chapter 51), the Board Members of the Bank of Uganda at a special meeting held on March 27, 2020, unanimously resolved to designate Dr Adam Mugume to perform the executive functions of the office of the Deputy Governor until a substantive deputy governor is appointed,” a message from the board said.



Whistleblower Calls For Investigation Into Kasekende Overseas Undeclared Wealth

A whistleblower has called on the Inspectorate of Government (IG) to investigate former Bank of Uganda deputy governor Dr. Louis Kasekende for failing to declare some of his local and overseas bank accounts and properties.

The complaint letter received by the IG titled CONFIDENTIAL NOTES, CORRUPTION AGAINST FORMER DEPUTY GOVERNOR LOUIS KASEKENDE, the whistleblower accuses Kasekede of failing to declare his wealth as required by the Leadership Code Act 2002.

“In accordance with the Leadership Code Act 2002, all public servants and leaders are required to declare their wealth to the IGG, but Kasekende didn’t declare his wealth.”

“He has acquired a lot of money and property in Luzira, Bugolobi, Buloba along Mityana road, and Naguru and evidence is attached to this effect” the letter reads in part.

The unnamed whistleblower accuses Kasekende of accumulating wealth beyond his known salary of Shs45m and allowances of Shs13m means. The whistleblower reveals that Kasekende operates a wealthy bank account in a Zambian bank.

“Kasekende and wife own other properties in the United Kingdom which the IGG needs to investigate and these property evidence is attached. Many witnesses are ready to give evidence to that effect as long as they are protected by your office, the whistleblower wrote.

As part of the whistleblower's evidence attachment, the whistleblower said Kasekende has a woman he uses called Agelah Nasaali based in Zambia.

“She has a company dealing in mining called KASE-NASA Mining Limited, Kasekende has 60 per cent. It has account number 600123445001 in Cavmont Bank Limited (CBL). Evidence will be given to investigator at the right time,” the whistleblower said.

The whistleblower who asks for protection from the IGG says Kasekende has two houses in Nagulu, Katearemwa road, and another one near General Moses Ali's residence, a house and a farm in Buloba on Mityana road, houses in Luzira, and money in KCB Bank in the names of Kasekende Paul but monitored by Kasekende.


Parliament Wants Deputy Governor Job Quickly Filled After Kasekende Departure

The minister of Finance Matia Kasaijja has been summoned to appear before Parliament Thursday next week to explain when they have not appointed a new deputy governor of Bank of Uganda.

The Speaker issued the directive on Thursday in response to a complaint raised by MP Michael Mawanda (Igara East) who said that work at the central bank has been paralysed since the office of the deputy governor has not been filled ever since Dr. Louis Kasekende left after the expiry of his contract.

“The office of Deputy Governor, Bank of Uganda has been quite vacant for quite some time and he is the vice chairperson of the board. This is a strategic institution and I fear we may face some challenges if a position isn’t filled in the shortest time. As you know, I have been processing a bill and I asked some information but nobody was committal to answer questions,” Mawanda told Parliament.

In response, Speaker of Parliament Rebeca Kadaga said, the Minister of Finance should come and brief Parliament on which the position will be filled.

“The Minister of Finance should come and update us about the deputy governor despite resolutions to separate the management board positions, they haven’t happened but they are still bound in the old law. The minister for finance should come back next week and brief the house.”

Former Bank of Uganda deputy governor Louis Kasekende contract expired recently and President Yoweri Museveni refused to renew his contract. Kasekende is one of the top former officials of Bank of Uganda who contributed to fraudulent sale of seven commercial banks.

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