Business

Bank of Uganda Breaks Silence on Crane Bank Court Battle

Sudhir inspecting the building
Tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia touring one of his properties in Kampala. Media reports have trained focus on prospects of the tycoon losing some of these properties

Bank of Uganda is calling for media and public restraint on matters concerning a case it sanctioned against tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia and his company Meera Investments Ltd.

The case which among others seeks to compel the tycoon to refund up $94Million and Shs. 60billion, has drawn public attention and attracted extensive media coverage since it last became public at the close of last week.

Sudhir is being accused by Bank of Uganda of “fraudulently extracting” this money from his own Crane Bank, leading its solvency and takeover by the BoU early this year.

The Central Bank in a Thursday statement, called upon members of the public to be patient until the matter is resolved.

The statement also dismissed what was termed as “unfounded speculation,” making rounds in the media about the case.

“We wish to assure the public that any allegations that the suit is being brought by the Bank of Uganda and/or its lawyers for purposes other than the recovery of the funds and properties due to Crane Ban are false,” the statement read in part.

“While the Bank is cognisant of the level of public interest generated by this case, we are constrained in commenting extensively until the matter is resolved by court.”

Following publication of the documents detailing the case before the Kampala High Court, different media houses quoting sources have made numerous suggestions mostly concerning the fate of Mr Ruparelia’s assets.

Some reports claimed the tycoon had relented and agreed to hand over some of his properties including hotels and buildings to Bank of Uganda.

The reports also claimed ongoing efforts to have the case, now before Justice David Kutosi Wangutsi, resolved outside court. There were also suggestions that some of Sudhir’s friends and business partners were facing loss of their properties in this case.

Bank of Uganda as a receiver of Crane Bank, on top of returning $94Million and Shs. 60billion, wants Sudhir to return Freehold titles to Crane Bank’s branches, which he allegedly transferred to Meera Investments and then leased back to bank at high rates.

The Central Bank also wants the tycoon to meet general damages, interests and costs of the case.

Bank of Uganda has hired MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates to represent it against Crane Bank in the case.

According to the statement, the central bank has already paid Shs 398.2Million as court filing fees, to Uganda Revenue Authority.

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