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Lawyers want Crane Bank returned to shareholders

Lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to compel Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to return Crane Bank Limited to shareholders led by City businessman Sudhir Ruparelia (PHOTO/Courtesy).

Lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to compel Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to return Crane Bank Limited to shareholders led by City businessman Sudhir Ruparelia (PHOTO/Courtesy).

KAMPALA – City tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia has officially renamed former Simbamanyo House located at Plot 2 Lumumba Avenue to Gender & Labor House.

The renaming process of the multibillion property was concluded this week, giving it a facelift and complete makeover.

The building, now under the management of Meera Investments Ltd of Ruparelia Group houses the Ministry of Labor, Gender and Social Development among other tenants.

Mr. Sudhir acquired the building in October 2020 for UGX18.5b from Equity Bank after the previous owner Architect Peter Kamya defaulted on a bank loan. Mr Kamya also lost Afrique Suites in Mutungo that Equity Bank sold to Luwaluwa Investments.

Both the High Court and Court of Appeal has cleared the acquisition of the top city property by Sudhir’s Meera Investments Ltd.

The lawyers argue that the court should compel the Bank of Uganda to give back the assets of Crane Bank Limited to its original shareholders since its receivership ended in 2018.

The lawyers; Peter Kabatsi, Joseph Matsiko and Elison Karuhanga demand that BoU must not only return the bank to its shareholders but must also pay the costs Mr. Sudhir incurred throughout the long court battle with the central bank.

“The appellant receivership ended on January 2018 and BoU is to pay costs therein and in the court,” reads one of the documents from the court.

Lawyers say that since receivership ended, BoU does not have any options but to return the assets and pay the costs of the suits.

Both the High Court and the appellant courts have since concluded that the central ban was in blatant violation of the provisions of the Financial Institutions Act of 2003, there was no valuation of the assets of Crane Bank Ltd when the BoU sold to dfcu Bank.

In its statement, the BoU claimed to have sunk Shs 490 billion as liquidity support into Crane Bank during statutory management. But immediately before BoU takeover of Crane Bank, one of its major shareholders, Mr. Sudhir, put into the bank $8m (Shs 30 billion). Another shareholder, Chhotalal Kantaria, gave BOU $7.5m (Shs 28 billion). After the sale of Crane, Bank  Mr. Sudhir paid yet another $8m (Shs 30 billion) to the BOU, making a total of Shs 88 billion from shareholders.

The Auditor-General has since stated that the BOU failed to account for the Shs 490 billion

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