Court of appeal dismisses Bank of Uganda case against Sudhir

By Deo Wasswa

The court of Appeal has dismissed a multi-billion case against businessman Sudhir Ruparellia and his Meera investments company in which the Central Bank accuses him of siphoning over 397 billion shillings from Crane Bank .

Three justices of the court including; Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny -Dollo , Cheborion Barishaki and Steven Musota have unanimously ruled that after a careful perusal of evidence; they too find no misconduct against Sudhir that would warrant litigation and hence forth they have ordered Bank of Uganda to pay costs incurred by the businessman to defend himself in both courts .

In their ruling read to court by registrar Mary Babirye, the Justices have also confirmed that at the time of filing this suit in January 2017, Crane Bank Limited was already in receivership and a non -existing entity whose life time was terminated /ended when Bank of Uganda sold its assets to DFCU in October 2016.

The justices have been in further agreement with trial Commercial Court judge David Wangutusi that being in receivership; Crane Bank had no capacity to institute legal proceedings against its former Director or could anyone drag it before court because it as no assets to be claimed for.

But having been dissatisfied with the above position ; Bank of Uganda petitioned the Court of Appeal last year to challenge the decision of Justice Wangutusi to condemn it to pay costs yet he did not fully hear the case but disposed it off basing on a point of law .

The court of Appeal has instead also further condemned it to pay costs having found out that the Central Bank wrongfully dragged Sudhir to court .

Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank had wanted Sudhir and Meera to pay back over 397Billlion shillings that it claims the 2 fraudulently took out of crane Bank where Sudhir was owning 100% shares.

Immediately after the court ruling; Sudhir who was in company of his son Ranjiv explained that he will be seeking millions of dollars in costs .

Business tycoon Sudhir’s ruling flops

By Sania Babirye
The commercial court has pushed to the 29th of February to deliver a ruling in a case in which Kampala Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia filed against DFCU bank challenging law firm of Sebalu Lule and company advocates from representing DFCU against him.

This is after the court failed to deliver its ruling as expected on Wednesday. The date was set by commercial court head Paul Gadenya Wolimbwa after both parties concluded defending their cases on the 8th of April in which Sudhir wants to stop the law firm due to conflict if interest while, the lawyers want the application dismissed because it lacks merit.

The law firm is representing DFCU which Sudhir through his real estate company, Crane management services dragged to court accusing it of failing to pay rent arrears amounting to 2.9billion shillings arising from suit property that was formally owned crane bank.

According to the suit, Crane Management services claims that when DFCU took over management of Crane Bank, it illegally took possession of the rental facilities from which the real estate company seeks to recover its arrears.

However in defense, DFCU contracted the Law firm of Sebalu , Lule and Advocates for representation which Sudhir is contesting.

In his submissions , Sudhir claims that the law firm cannot represent DFCU because he used the same firm in 2006 to draw and review tenancy agreements in respect of the said rental premises.

However in their defense the law firm through its lawyer Peter Walubiri, have asked the judge to dismiss the application for lack of merit saying the tenancy agreements drawn in 2006 are not confidential in any way to dent Sudhir’s case .

On the 19th of March this year Justice Gadenya accepted to preside over the case and set the date following an earlier decisions by both the head of the commercial court David Wangtusi and his deputy declining to preside over the case.

Justice Wangtusi was the second judge to excuse himself from trying the case which has stalled for some months after his deputy justice Jane Elizabeth Alidviza also excused herself from the same case and sent the case file back to justice Wangtusi on grounds that he was already handling cases related to the same file.

According to Sudhir who is the owner of the Crane management service Ltd , the lawyers can not represent DFCU Bank because of conflict of interest since the same lawyers had represented him before and can not turn around and represent his opponent DFCU bank .

Sudhir says the same lawyer can not represent him in one case and then represent his opponent in another case because confidential information that was exchanged and discussed between them will be prejudiced in relation to the DFCU matter.

Date set for Sudhir -DFCU bank lawyer case

Hearing of the case in which Kampala Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia filed against DFCU bank will finally kick off on the 3rd of April 2019 after numerous flopping due to a lack of a judge .

This is after commercial judge Paul Gadenya accepted to preside over the case and set the date following an earlier decisions by both the head of the commercial court David Wangtusi and his deputy declining to preside over the case.

Justice Wangtusi was the second judge to excused himself from trying the case in which Sudhir Ruparelia wants Sebalu & Lule advocates to not represent DFCU Bank against him.

Justice Wangtusi become the second judge to withdraw himself from the same case after his deputy justice Jane Elizabeth Alidviza also excused herself from the same case and sent the case file back to justice Wangtusi on grounds that he was already handling cases related to the same file.

According to Sudhir who is the owner of the Crane management service Ltd , the lawyers can not represent DFCU Bank because of conflict of interest since the same lawyers had represented him before and can not turn around and represent his opponent DFCU bank .

Sudhir says the same lawyer can not represent him in one case and then represent his opponent in another case because confidential information that was exchanged and discussed between them will be prejudiced in relation to the dfcu matter.

Sudhir is seeking an order stopping the law firm from representing DFCU bank

Crane management service ltd dragged DFCU bank to court accusing it of failing to clear rent arias amounting to 2.9 billion Uganda shillings.

Sudhir demands for return of banks’ bad loan book


By Deo Wasswa

The vice chairman of the defunct Crane Bank, Business man Sudhir Ruparelia has demanded for the return of the banks bad loan book which he values at UGX570 billion.

The bank was closed in October 2016 and sold to DFCU three months later.

Sudhir made the appeal during a presentation by shareholders of the bank before the COSASE.

According to the former chairman of Crane Bank Joseph Biribonwa The bank of Uganda had a premeditated plan to asset strip Crane bank and sell it to a preferred buyer.

He told Members of Parliament that the Bank Of Uganda frustrated the efforts by the share holders to bring in an equity investors.

Birobonwa had earlier told MPs that the liquidity crisis at the bank had been caused by an economic downturn in 2014/2015.

He blamed the BOU for causing loss of confidence in CB in April 2016 by halting the bank from issuing letters of credit, bonds and bank guarantees. In addition he said the BOU placed a lien on treasury bills held by CB worth 169bn.

These actions he said killed the bank since they caused capital flight and serious reputation damage.

The lien on treasury bills also led to equity investor Atlas Mara losing interest in Crane Bank.

He revealed that the shareholders had raised capital amounting to 8m dollars which funds were detained by BOU and not allowed in the bank.

He also disclosed that on 19th October 2016 Crane bank had agreed to terms of a loan from the central bank amounting to 79.2bn shs but the BOU moved to take over the bank that very night at 11pm.

He noted that BOU made the decision to sell Crane Bank in November 2016. This was less than a month after the takeover and in violation of the financial institutions act.

The chairman of Ruparelia Group who was vice chairman of the Bank Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia told the MPs that the shareholder of the bank demand the return of the bad loan book that was handed to Dfcu.

He demands for the return of 23.5 dollars raised by the shareholders and held by the BOU.

Works ministry approves Queens chambers for MPs offices amidst dissatisfaction by review team

The Ministry of Works and Transport has okayed legislators’ occupancy of Queen Chambers, a building owned by city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

This is carried in letter dated 26th August 2016 addressed to the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige.

In the letter, Alex Okello, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works says that the building that is located on Parliament Avenue is structurally safe for occupation.

The development follows a parliament letter to the works ministry seeking technical advice on the state of occupancy of the building.

Queen Chambers is among the three buildings that were recently shortlisted by Parliament to provide office space for Members of Parliament and staff. It previously housed the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

In July, a four-man team from parliament appointed to review bids for acquisition of office space raised red lights after an inspection exercise of the buildings. The team led by the Sergeant at Arms, Ahmed Kagoye, inspected Queen Chambers and found that the toilets were stained and the drainage system was poor.

Meera Investments Limited, the managers of the building had, as part of their bid documents, attached a letter from the Ministry of Works, clearing it for occupancy.  However, the inspection team questioned the clearance on grounds that it could not be occupied in its present state.

The inspection team also questioned how the same building was cleared for occupancy yet one of the reasons it was vacated by the Ministry of Justice last year was reportedly due to its visible cracks.

Parliament was later informed by the works ministry that the letter attached to the Meera Investments bid had been issued in error by a new technical team within the ministry. This prompted another assessment of the building by a team from the ministry of works last month.

Now in his letter to parliament, PS Okello says that an inspection was carried out on 18th August 2016 which revealed that the defects pointed out during the structural integrity assessment had been rectified.

Okello says that there was no sign of reoccurrence of any of the defects at the time of inspection.

He also refers to a permit of occupation dated 18th March 2016 issued by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) to Meera Investments Ltd and the proprietor of Queen Chambers signifying that the premises are in a habitable state and can be occupied.

However, Okello recommends that arrangements should be made for routine and periodic maintenance of the building; particularly the electro-mechanical installations and external drainage which he said are the main aspects of concern.

Works ministry’s technical team is also to conduct quarterly inspections on the building to review the performance of the remedial works over a period of twelve months.

It is also recommended that the new occupant of the building should notify the ministry of gender in accordance with Section 40, Sub-section 2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2016 and Schedule 3 thereof so that the premises can be registered as a work place.

Sources now indicate that with this approval from the works ministry, Queen Chambers now awaits being awarded the contract due to its proximity to the Parliament building.

The other bid submitted by Yampe Limited is said to be too costly while the third bidder with a new building on Lumumba Avenue is far from Parliament.

The Parliamentary Commission invited bids for the provision of office space for Members of Parliament in June as it moves to end the office crisis at the main parliament building. A number of MPs in the tenth parliament currently share offices due to the crisis.

Parliament allocated 2.3 billion shillings in its budget to renting office space of legislators.

In the bids, the commission stated that the buildings should be in close proximity to parliament building and not more than 400metres from parliament House.

Other requirements set by the Commission are provision of well ventilated, tiled floor and newly painted walls, paved or tarmac parking space, premises adequately secured and well lit, standby power, well-functioning sanitary facilities and others.

The others include access facilities for persons with disabilities, adequate space for reception area and a visitor’s parlour, among others.

-URN