A Ugandan citizen, Steven Masanso has threatened to sue MMKAS Advocates on allegations that the firm fraudulently received money from Bank of Uganda (BoU) on pretext of drawing the Purchase and Assumption of liabilities agreement that saw Dfcu Bank acquire Crane Bank Limited (CBL) on January 25, 2017 at Shs200 billion paid in installments.
CBL had been under receivership of BoU from October 20, 2016 on account of being undercapitalised.
“As you are aware, it is on record that as part of the resolution of various banks facts of which are well within knowledge you continually received various monies in collusion with individual Bank of Uganda officials which sums were charged on the received banks,” Mr Masanso says in his notice of intention to sue dated February 28, 2019.
“In the case of Crane Bank Limited’s resolution you acted without the proper authority of Bank of Uganda or…its legal department. Your activities were construed in bad faith, self-interest and usurped the constitutional mandate/purpose of the regulator,” he argues.
He says MMKAS Advocates also routinely billed way beyond the permissible scale and in instances for now work done. “A case in point is with respect on the monies taken out as legal fees for purported drawing of the Crane Bank Sale agreement even when it clearly shows having been drawn by the Legal Department of Bank of Uganda,” he argues.
He accuses MMKAs Advocates of performing a ‘regulatory coup’ variously significantly advising BoU while at the same time sitting on different boards of the regulated banks or acting for them.
Masanso wants the law firm to publish a public apology in the nation’s media but also refund all the money that he says was illegally levied on BoU and received banks. He says he will launch criminal and civil proceedings against the lawyers and their accomplices if they don’t act as asked within a week.
According to the Auditor General’s special audit report of BoU on defunct banks, MMKAS Advocates charged BoU Shs4.2 billion as they acted as transaction advisors in the sale of CBL. That amount was part of Shs12 billion that the central bank says it spent as intervention costs on CBL’s receivership and sale.