ON THE SPOT: Ms Kasule

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) recently decided to hand DFCU Bank extra 24 months to occupy freehold properties of Meera Investments Limited after the initial 34 months ended.

The deal to give DFCU Bank extra time was signed by BoU Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Deputy Governor Dr Louis Kasekende as well as Head of Legal Margaret Kasule on one side while DFCU top bosses sealed appended signatures on the side of the bank.

As a recap, in October 2016, BoU took over Crane Bank Limited on grounds of undercapitalization, placed it under receivership before transferring it to DFCU Bank in January, 2017. DFUC Bank would be allowed to operate in different CBL branches whose ownership belonged to Meera Investments limited, one of the companies under Ruparelia Group. That advice was given by Counsel Kasule who now could be held liable for misadvising BoU.

Chairman of Ruparelia Group Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments in a recent application to court want the recovery, transfer and return of freehold property from CBL in receivership, a case that Kasule should be lined up as one of the witnesses.

Sudhir’s lawyers from law firm Kampala Associated Advocates, he says have advised him  that under the Constitution and the Land Act, DFCU Bank cannot own and hold freehold property and is therefore, not capable of holding the suit property in its names.

As Sudhir argues above, Kasule should have observed the issue and advised BoU accordingly as legal counsel. Between 2012 and 2016, Meera Investments leased the 46 properties to Crane bank on different terms with the leases being duly registered as encumbrances on Meera’s freehold and mailo interest.

DFCU Bank, which was the new tenant moved to take over the 46 properties, without the consent of the owners Meera Investments.

“Through a subsequent search at the relevant land registries, the plaintiff (Meera Investments) discovered that; without it’s prior written consent, Dfcu Bank in addition to taking possession of the suit properties, caused the leasehold interest to be transferred into its names and had been registered thereon as the proprietor of the leasehold interest,” Meera Investments says in the recent plaint.

They add that at the execution of the transfers in favour of Dfcu and at the time of causing the transfer of the leasehold interest into the names of Dfcu, the registration of Meera as the proprietor of the freehold and mailo was and is still intact.

Meera says Dfcu was aware of this fact or could have ascertained by way of a simple search.