Lawyers representing Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) in the case sanctioned against its former owner Sudhir Ruparelia, by Bank of Uganda, are hesitant to provide all the evidence they intend to rely on in prosecuting this case.
In the civil suit before High Court, the Central Bank wants Sudhir to return among others up to Shs 400bn it claims he illegally extracted from CBL.
Sudhir’s lawyers led by Counsel Peter Kabatsi of the Kampala Associated Advocates, a few days ago filed an application demanding that Crane Bank Lawyers release 26 documents to allow their client prepare a solid defense.
The said documents include a forensic report by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the Operations of Crane Bank before being taken over by BoU last year.
The lawyers also want documented evidence showing Sudhir took out Shs 8.2bn from Crane bank disguised as credit facilities to Infinity Investments Limited before writing off the big sum of money as a bad debt.
This request however was today turned down by the Central Bank lawyers of MMAKS Advocates and Mpanga AF Advocates, who only offered to provide just one of the 26 documents.
The plaintiff in civil cases is required under Order 10, Rule 15 of the Civil Procedure Rules, to provide the defendants with all evidence they intend to rely on in the case.
BoU lawyers however, argue that the documents being sought by Sudhir’s lawyers were not mentioned in the original suit filed in High Court on June 30th 2017, apart from only one document marked as “Item 24.”
They are therefore not required to provide all these documents at this stage of the case, they add.
This (Item 24,) the lawyers agreed to produce not later than tomorrow, Tuesday August first, and the rest at a later date.
MMAKS Advocate responded to Sudhir’s lawyers in a letter seen by Chimpreports, “Notice that no “reference is made” in the plaint filed by the plaintiff on the 30th of June 2017 to any of the documents listed as items 1 to 26 (other than item 24) of the “Notice to produce Documents” filed on the 21st of July 2017,” such as to entitle the defendants to production of those documents at this stage of the suit.”
The Central Bank lawyers added in their response that they would only provide the rest of the documents requested by Kabasti at the Scheduling Conference.
“With respect to Item 24, of the “Notice to Produce Documents,” a copy shall be availed to the defendants’ advocates on or by close of business on the 1st of August 2017,” they added.
We were unable to obtain a quick comment from Sudhir’s lawyers as they were reportedly busy.
However, sources said Sudhir’s lawyers remain ‘in the dark’ in regard to details of the case.
“The businessman’s lawyers haven’t even seen the forensic report BoU lawyers are relying on to have Sudhir prosecuted,” said a source who is briefed about the case.