Properties worth about six hundred billion shillings (Shs600bn) deposited as security in the now-defunct Crane Bank by dozens of customers who defaulted on loans is majorly responsible for tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s current woes, sources have said.
Speaking to the EagleOnline on condition of anonymity, the source said the Shs600bn was written off as ‘bad debt’ but that some senior officials in the Central Bank’s Supervision Directorate that is under Ms. Justin Bagyenda have an interest in the money for personal gain, despite efforts by the former owners of Crane Bank to prove that the securities deposited by loan defaulters were of a higher pecuniary value, and could be sold to offset any debt.
“The people who took loans from Crane Bank including several high-profile politicians and businessmen in Kampala had deposited securities with pecuniary values far above the loans advanced to them, which could be sold to raise money to clear any debt,” the source said.
“Why did the Bank of Uganda rush to court to try and recover about Shs400bn, yet the value of the properties deposited (about Shs600bn) was far above what it is seeking,” the source wondered.
Also, according to the source, despite several attempts by the owners of the Crane Bank, the BoU had failed to avail them with the results from the ‘forensic audit’ carried out after the Crane Bank was closed last year.
Recently, the BoU paid Shs398 million to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) as court filing fees for a suit seeking to recover US$93.8 million and Shs60.3 billion allegedly taken by Mr. Ruparelia and Meera Investments from Crane Bank.
In that respect the BoU has employed the services of MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates to pursue the case on behalf of Crane Bank that was taken over by the Dfcu Group.
And, contacted for comment, the BoU Director of Communication Christine Alupo told the EagleOnline on phone that she was not at liberty to discuss the case as it was before court.
“For now I have no comment; as you are aware there is a court process and out of respect for that process we decided not to comment about the case till it is settled,” the BoU Director of Communication Christine Alupo told the EagleOnline on phone.
And, in an SMS Ms. Alupo added: ‘We cannot comment on issues currently before court. There are a lot of unfounded and diversionary theories being circulated around. Let’s await the Court process and the facts as they will be ascertained’.
She however, said that the BoU had encountered social media posts aimed at tarnishing the image of some BOU senior staff, mostly those in the Bank Supervision department.
“That said (about the official restraint on case by BoU) there is a lot of speculation, and it is diversionary; there are a lot of lies being told about staff,” Ms. Alupo said.
Earlier, a top commercial lawyer in the city, also speaking on condition of anonymity, had accused the BoU of “taking the case to the mainstream media,” in apparent reference to recent publications by The New Vision over the issue, and wondered: “why can’t they wait for the case to be heard on its merit?”