TAKEOVER: Bank of Uganda bullion vans ferry documents from Crane Bank on Kampala Road.

Bank of Uganda has hired Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates as its new external attorneys, replacing lawyers David Mpanga and Timothy Masembe of AF Mpanga-Bowmans and MMAKS, respectively.

Sources at Bank of Uganda said Lule, Sebalu and Company Advocates were handed the multi-billion Shilling contract yesterday and immediately assumed the duties of representing central bank.

The replacement of the two law firms, the sources further said, was effected by BoU because the two lawyers reportedly ‘leaked’ confidential documents detailing account particulars of the former clients of Crane Bank, for which they had previously acted as counsel.

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This, the sources said, was contrary to the ‘confidential clause’ that governs the banking sector and is said to have irked Crane Bank shareholder Mr. Sudhir Ruparelia to the point that he was considering filing another case against BoU and the two law firms and lawyers.

At the time the BoU had paid the two law firms over Shs4 billion in litigation fees’ settlements.

The saga surrounding the closure of Crane Bank is not without incident, and has seen terse exchanges between the parties involved including one that has pitted the BoU Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the Inspector General of Government (IGG), in respect to the retirement of former Executive Director of Bank Supervision Justine Bagyenda.

It is pertinent to recall that earlier, in a Notice of Motion filed in court Mr. Ruparelia had said that by representing the BoU and Crane Bank, the two law firms were acting in conflict of interest.

In the ensuing litigation the Commercial Court ruled that the two ‘conflicted’ lawyers, Mpanga and Masembe Kanyerezi, were potential witnesses in the case between Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank Limited.

‘A declaration that the lawyers in the 1st and 2nd Respondents are potential witnesses in HCCS 493 of 2017 and are barred from representing the 3rd and 4th Respondents in the said suit’, the Notice of Motion added.

Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates is a leading Ugandan business law firm founded in 1980 by lawyers Paulo Sebalu (RIP) and Godfrey Lule.