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How law firm Sebalu & Lule Advocates misled Dfcu bank in transfer of Meera Investment leasehold properties

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Evidence has come out to the effect that Dfcu bank was misled by Kampala Law firm Sebalu & Lule Advocates to illegally transfer title properties that belong to Meera Investment Limited and Crane Bank Limited Meera Investment Limited.

According to a leaked memorandum of May 8, 2017,  Sebalu & Lule Advocates who were in April barred by the High Court from representing the same bank against businessman tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia for being conflicted misled Dfcu bank to transfer leasehold titles from Crane Bank Limited during the controversial takeover two years ago.

Meera Investments Limited is a company under the Ruparelia Group whose Chairman is Sudhir Ruparelia and whose Crane Bank Limited was controversially closed three years ago.

In a leaked document titled, “ Transfer of former Crane Bank household properties’, “the law firm skipped important aspects of the law including the fact that banks are not allowed to invest in business for fear of conflict of interest with their clients, apart from their main premises.

“Our opinion is that although the proposed approach of registering caveats provides Dfcu with some level of legal protection, its indisputable title to the leasehold properties can only be guaranteed through the registration of transfers executed by BoU in favour of Dfcu. Accordingly, in light of the length of time between the completion  date and when Dfcu can validly exercise the option to rescind the purchase of the leasehold properties  our recommendation is that transfers be registered immediately,” the law firm advised.

According to industry experts, the whole procedure was entangled with fraud as there was no consent from the Landlord (Meera Investment Ltd) before transferring the lease to another party.

Experts says this, “nullifies the transfer because lack of consent alone nullifies the whole procedure” as ownership belonged to Meera Investment Limited, an independent body from the defunct Crane Bank Ltd.

The best option by Sebalu & Lule Advicates was to register caveats on the said leasehold properties but that would disadvantage Dfcu bank as it could take some time.

Bank of Uganda (BoU) in May agreed to hand Dfcu bank more 24 months to occupy freehold properties of Meera Investments Limited.

The resolution was signed by the central bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, his deputy Dr. Louis Kasekende and legal director Margaret Kasule.

Sudhir’s lawyers Kampala Associated Advocates argued that under the Land Act, the closed bank cannot own land and that it used an expunged process and false records.

The case is still in courts of law and Dr Sudhir’s claims have so far been proven by the findings of the Auditor General and Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises [Cosase] who found out that the closure of Crane Bank and six other banks, breached several provisions of the Financial Institutions Act 2014 and was therefore illegal.

legal experts say it was sloppy for the Lule and Sebalu Advocates, they could have instructed an intern to give a legal opinion in regards to the subject matter at hand or rather they could have two options, land Commission cancels the said transfer or Meera Investments is compensated at the prevailing market price.

Click on the link below to read legal opinion

sebalu 8h may

“I think Sebalu & Lule and the Dfcu lawyers at the time were more motivated by the legal fees associated with transferring the titles and the subsequent kick backs, to the detriment of their employer. Am sure they knew Sudhir would drag them to court and that was more business for them. At the end of the day, the lawyers will walk away rich, leaving Dfcu to suffer the costs. Already the former Dfcu Head of Legal has run away to NSSF where she is Company Secretary”. said one legal expert on condition that she isn’t disclosed.

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