By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Following Bank of Uganda’s (BoU) alleged dubious take over of management of Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) on October 20, 2016, and subsequent progression into receivership on January 24, 2017, CBL has finally been placed under liquidation and BoU has taken over as its liquidator which many economics pundits have attributed to tycoon Sudhir’s legal pressure against troubled BoU, and the analysts claim it could turn a suicide move to BoU.
According to the public notice seen by Spy Uganda dated November 13, 2020, signed by BoU Governor prof.Emmanuel Mutebile, the panicky BoU has called upon all borrowers of CBL, whose loans were transferred to DFCU Bank under the purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities agreement between CBL (In Receivership) and DFCU saying borrowers must continue to serve their loan obligations.
The notice further reads, “All other borrowers of CBL, whose loans were not transferred to DFCU Bank, must service their loans by paying into the designated collection accounts at Bank of Uganda.”
The development comes after the Court of Appeal in Kampala dismissed an appeal on June 23,2020, that had been filed against businessman Sudhir Ruparelia by Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank in receivership, contesting Justice David Wangutusi’s 2019 ruling, in which he declared that BoU illegally wound up Crane Bank and sold it to DFCU bank under controversial circumstances.
BoU /Crane Bank in Receivership had sued Sudhir and Meera Investments Limited for allegedly fleecing Crane Bank Limited (CBL) of Shs397 billion which the Central bank wanted to be refunded.
Meanwhile, tycoon Sudhir has since counter-sued BoU, seeking compensation of $8m (Shs28 billion) in damages for breach of contract.
Brief Background Of The Case
On June 30, 2017, Crane Bank Limited (in Receivership) took Mr. Sudhir Ruparelia and his Meera Investments Ltd. to court for allegedly causing financial loss amounting to UGX 397 billion to Crane Bank in fraudulent transactions and land title transfers.
Crane Bank (in receivership) in its Civil Suit No. 493 of 2017 sought High Court to compel Mr. Ruparelia to pay back the US$80,000,000, US$9,270,172.00, US $ 3,560,000.00, US$990,000.00 and UGX 52,083,995.00 as compensation for breach of fiduciary duty.
While Hon. Justice Wangutusi dismissed the UGX397 billion case against Mr. Ruperalia on a technicality, alleging that Crane Bank (in Receivership) lost its powers to “sue” and to “be sued”, thus rendering its suit a nullity, Crane Bank (in Receivership) maintains that receivership is a management situation, and hence no legal change as to the capacity of a company to sue and be sued.
In the same vein, the DFCU lawyers earlier this week sweat plasma in court as it defended that DFCU when it took over operations of CBL in January 2017, it did not hoodwink CBL employees as they petitioned that after the change of management, their contracts were terminated, while others were deliberately frustrated into resigning.
DFCU through its lawyers Sebalu & Lule Advocates defended its self thus; “he defendant (DFCU) made an ex gratia payment of sh1m to each of the laid-off employees because the Crane Bank scale was low.”
Background Of The Matter
On October 1, representatives (10) of the 625 employees filed a suit at the High Court civil division in Kampala. They sued through the Centre for Legal Aid (CLA).
The representatives are Catherine Achan, Teddy Akullo, Janet Ngwena, Mactose Arinaitwe, Edward Bukenya, and Loy Kiwumulo, Abbey Mivule, Benjamin Muchwa, Robert Mwanje, and Emmanuel Ngororano.
Some of these employees’ contracts were terminated on February 24, 2017, while others departed by October 23, 2017, when the court permitted the representative suit.
They accuse DFCU of unjust discrimination, gross human rights violations, fraud, negligence, breach of duty, bad faith, breach of trust, and unjust enrichment.
The ex-CBL employees claim DFCU hoodwinked them into believing that a restructuring and integration exercise was underway, yet it was a plot to kick them out.
“The plaintiffs shall contend that the defendant and its servants or agents used fraudulent means to procure or induce the collective termination of former CBL employees for economic, technological, and structural reasons,” the plaint reads in part.