By Andrew Irumba
A group of over four hundred (400) former Crane Bank Limited (CBL) employees have threatened to drag DFCU and the Central Bank for alleged unlawful termination of their employment contracts when they took over from Crane Bank in 2016.
The furious now jobless all Ugandans are demanding their terminal benefits owed to them by DFCU and an addition of Shs 120 million each for the losses they have incurred since as well as the inconvenience and trauma caused to them by unlawful termination of their services.
The former CBL employees were sacked by DFCU in February 2017 when they took over from CBL. They however said that part of DFCU’s contractual obligations was to absorb former CBL workers.
The workers that addressed a press conference on Wed.at Hotel triangle in Kampala included Achan Catherine Kate, Akullo Teddy, Angwema Janet Mector, Arinaitwe Mactose, Bukenya Edward and Kiwumulo Lot Dianah. Others are Mivule Abbey, Muchwa Benjamin, Mwanje Robert and Ngororano Emmanuel among others. While addressing the press,they claim that they’re representing over 400 other workers who have since gone to villages after failing to cater for their families in K’la but they are well aware of the legal proceedings their fellow work mates are instituting.
The workers are represented by renowned city lawyer Isaac Semakade of Centre for Legal Aid, who is also representing controversial Makerere University Don.Dr.Stella Nyanzi.
The notice of intention to sue stems from the now controversial takeover of Crane Bank Ltd, at the time, third largest commercial bank in Uganda, by DFCU bank.
In January last year, Bank of Uganda notified the general public that it had transferred and conveyed the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank to DFCU in order to reduce the risk that Crane Bank posed to the financial system.
As a result, DFCU after inheriting assets and liabilities of Crane Bank, wrote a memo to its entire staff on February 24 2018 to the effect that several employees would be collectively terminated.
However, in their notice filed by their lawyers, Centre for Legal Aid, the former Crane Bank employees say the termination of their employment contracts was unjustified, unfair, discriminatory, degrading, demeaning and in breach of the law.
They contend that Bank of Uganda acted in bad faith, negligently, fraudulently and in breach of its duty under the constitution and the law regarding protection of rights/interests of the intending plaintiffs during the Crane Bank take over.
Bank of Uganda is accused of concealing details of the purchase and take over agreement from the ten former staffers yet their rights were directly affected in the takeover process.
Their frustrations are also informed, they say, by the recently divulged report of the Auditor General concerning the role of the Central Bank in the forced closure of local banks.
“The intending plaintiffs understand that the Bank of Uganda induced and/or encouraged DFCU Bank to conduct an illegal exercise of collective termination selectively targeting the intending plaintiffs in the wake of the controversial takeover of Crane Bank assets and liabilities by DFCU by purporting to exclude statutory duties owned to the intending plaintiffs during the impugned take over,” the notice reads.
The ten say they have suffered great distress, hurt feelings, humiliation, inconvenience and financial loss as a result of “the high handed and unlawful acts of DFCU and Bank of Uganda”.
They now seek general and punitive damages arising from the loss of their employment after they were transferred to DFCU. Their total compensation claim amounts to Shs 48 billion.
“They (workers) previously served DFCU with a notice of intention to sue, but DFCU replied saying that any responsibility for compensating former CBL workers in the sum of Shs 48billion should involve Bank of Uganda”, Counsel Semakade told the press on wed.at Hotel triangle where they held the press briefing.