Kenj Nabirye

Kenj Nabirye

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.

REVIEW: La Cabana Restaurant And The Brazilian Meat Experience

Over the years Chinese and other Far East cuisines have dominated many menus of restaurants in Kampala. These were mainly accessed at high end restaurants in posh suburbs of the city and Uganda’s capital.

But a new comer is changing the game. The coming of La Cabana Restaurant located at Speke Apartments, Wampeweo Avenue has brought a new way of ‘eating meat’. La Cabana has come with what has been termed as the Brazilian Churrusco Meat Experience and it is taking the city by storm.

La Cabana Restaurant is Kampala’s premium and ritzy churrasco grill restaurant in Uganda. And of late it is the place to be. It offers all sorts of meat accompanied by well prepared salads and an assortment of drinks in an environment that oozes class.

While it is largely and famously known for its exotic way of preparing meat, it also caters for vegetarians. La Cabana also has a great bar where the perfect blend of cocktails is the barman’s specialty.

Once you set foot into the expansive restaurant, the aura of finesse meat exuded from customer plates welcomes you. You don’t miss customers lip rollicking with sizeable masses of skewers of pork, top sirloin steak, lamb legs, rock salt pork cubes, BBQ chicken and beer marinated chicken.

“In addition, we have an array of home-made sides to accompany our meats and ensure you, our guests, relish your time with us. Keep your playing cards facing upright and let the food flow,”

“We entreat you to come delight and indulge in an evening of unlimited meats that have been marinated, cooked with full flavour and to perfection by our most senior grill chef.

“While the focus of our menu is meat, vegetarians can also enjoy the all you can eat vegetarian churrasco experience. We offer a range of grilled vegetables, cheeses, bread and salads.

La Cabana is not just about the churrasco experience. We do offer a continental and Indian menu along with a vibrant and snazzy bar where, the perfect blend of cocktails are the barman’s speciality,”

We offer free venues for baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays, baptism parties, Christening parties, engagement parties, luncheons and more. We are open every day from 6:30 AM – 11:00 PM.”

Speke Apartments, where La Cabana Restaurant is located, is the largest and most luxurious apartments in Uganda.  It is a mix of modern contemporary surroundings and a relaxing, laid back environment to ensure that Speke Apartments is the finest choice for both business and pleasure accommodation.

Speke Apartments offer spacious living areas, fully equipped kitchens, sumptuous bedrooms and bathrooms, designed to make you feel at home. Whether your stay is for business or pleasure, these full furnished apartment have all you could possibly need in modern accommodation in Kampala.

Location:  plot 19 -20 (Speke Apartments) Wampewo.

Telephone:  +256702711152

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.

Sudhir Ruparelia School Fees Grant Now Open

Victoria University Kampala has announced that they are now receiving applications for Dr Sudhir Ruparelia Scholarship Grant which were recently introduced in August this year by the university to benefit needy by academically powerful students.

Eligible for this scholarship are high school leavers who are looking at advancing their education at a university level. This particular call for application is targeting students for the January/February intake which is ongoing.

Victoria University is an Institution of higher learning licensed by National Council for Higher Education. The University located at Jinja Road in Kampala has four active faculties - Business and Management, Humanities & Social Sciences, Science and Technology and Health Sciences.

Victoria University offers degree, diploma and certificate courses. They also offer foundation programs like Understanding the world today, Study Skills For Academic Life, IT Skills for Academic Study, Foundation Mathematics and Effective Writing & Communication skills and other short courses.

To qualify for the scholarship which covers upto 30 percent of tuition fees, candidates must meet certain selection criteria.

The candidate must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years, a Ugandan, posses good matric results, portray positive attitude, provide references, willing to give back to the community and able to maintain a GPA of minimum 3.5 throughout the program.

The application process includes filling and submitting an online or offline application and filling the Scholarship form to show interest and confirm that you fulfill the criteria. Thereafter, after reviewing your application, the scholarship committee will offer the scholarship to successful candidates.

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