The fraud case against wealthy businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has taken a new twist with his lawyers seeking evidence of siphoning Shs 300bn from Crane Bank.
Bank of Uganda recently dragged Sudhir to the Commercial Court in Kampala, demanding he personally pays Shs 300bn he reportedly took from Crane Bank for his personal gain.
The Central Bank also accused him of paying millions of dollars for fictitious construction work.
ChimpReports understands Sudhir’s lawyers have filed an application in the Commercial Court seeking proof instead of “narratives” and “conjectures.”
Sudhir’s legal defence is led Peter Kabatsi of the Kampala Associated Advocates.
Dated July 21, the application also notes that the summons to file defence lack annexure providing details of the case.
The lawyers want the Central Bank to provide 26 documents which 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.
The lawyers want proof that this was done on Sudhir’s orders and that the company belongs to him.
They have further asked for evidence that Crane Bank solely belonged to Sudhir as alleged in the Central Bank suit.
KAA lawyers also need evidence that Sudhir did not remit Shs 52 bn of Crane Bank workers’ money to NSSF despite making the deductions off their salaries.
NSSF boss Richard Byarugaba recently told ChimpReports that talks between Crane Bank and the Fund were already underway when the financial institution was put under receivership.
“Before the Fund could reach an agreement with Crane Bank Limited to settle the arrears, it was sold to DFCU Bank,” said Byarugaba.
Official records seen by ChimpReports indicate that unpaid ‘Standard Contribution’ from employees of Crane Bank Limited amount to Shs 7.5bn covering the period from January 2010 to December 2016.
NSSF said the Bank should have as well paid ‘Special Contribution’ amounting to Shs 930m to the Fund.
Shs 600bn Deal
Meanwhile, sources said when DFCU Bank took over the management of Crane Bank; the former had lent out monies to various individuals amounting to over Shs 600b.
However, there was a proposal by BoU and DFCU to write off the debt on grounds of being a bad debt.
The proponents of this idea wanted the securities sold with DFCU taking 20 percent of sale revenue and 80 percent goes to the Central Bank.
But this idea collapsed with BoU taking Sudhir to court to recover $92m from the Ruparelia Group of Companies Chairman which he allegedly got from fraudulent transactions.
Before the takeover of Crane Bank, officials said the institution had been affected by many non-performing loans as a result of a troubled economy.
The Central Bank recently denied harboring malicious intentions against Sudhir.
“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 Central Bank said in statement.
“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.”
Bank of Uganda has hired MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates to represent it in the case against Crane Bank.
According to the statement, the central bank has already paid Shs 398.2m as court filing fees, to Uganda Revenue Authority.