Businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, through his lawyers led by Kampala Associated Advocates, has sued the head of Bank of Uganda’s (BOU) Legal department Margaret Kaggwa Kasule for contempt of Court.
“Our client was the successful party in Court of Appeal Civil Appeal 252 of 2019 Crane Bank Limited (In Receivership) vs Sudhir Ruparelia & Another where the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court in High Court Civil Suit 493 of 2017 to wit that the 131 Respondent had no locus to institute proceedings against the Applicant and its plaint did not disclose a cause of action,” part of the notice of intention to sue reads.
While aware that upon closure of Crane Bank, it ceased to be a financial institution, by notice dated 16th October 2020, Ms Kasule went ahead and advised Bank of Uganda to place Crane Bank into liquidation.
“TAKE NOTICE that our client has thus decided to institute legal proceedings against you for contempt of court orders for your role in the illegal liquidation of our client’s Bank,” the notice reads.
Without staying the execution of the judgment of Court of Appeal, Margaret Kasule advised BOU to apply for a temporary injunction restraining Sudhir from filing resolutions concerning Crane Bank Limited with Uganda Registration Services Bureau vide MA No. 32 and MA No. 33.
Immediately after the dismissal of MA 33 of 2020, Kasule further advised BOU to progress Crane Bank (in Receivership) into liquidation while aware that such a move was contrary to S.95 of the Financial Institutions Act which only envisages a licensed Bank to be put under liquidation.
Following her advice, Bank of Uganda on 13th November 2020, went ahead and issued the public notice placing Crane Bank into liquidation and ordered the winding up of its affairs. The move to liquidate Crane Bank while pending hearing of Civil Appeal No. 07 of 2020 filed by Bank of Uganda was done in bad faith and was manifestly intended to render the appeal decision of Supreme Court nugatory.
All this was done yet Ms. Kasule was aware that upon closure of Crane Bank, it ceased to be a financial institution and could not therefore be progressed into liquidation. She was aware that both the High Court and Court of Appeal found that receivership of Crane Bank had ended and that it was a closed financial institution but went ahead to illegally liquidate Crane Bank.
On 4th October 2021, the Supreme Court found that receivership of Crane Bank ended on 20th January 2018 Court further found that in placing Crane Bank into liquidation, Bank of Uganda was in contempt of court orders. The move was intended to circumvent the decision of Court of Appeal hence aimed at preventing the course of justice before.
Kasule again insisted on placing Crane Bank into Liquidation and instead filed HCCS No. 595 of 2021 in the names of Crane Bank (in Liquidation).
Further by trying to file a suit under the name of Crane Bank (in Liquidation), she was in contempt of orders of the Supreme Court in MA No. 39 of 2020 which held that Crane Bank was a closed bank which could not be progressed into liquidation and that Bank of Uganda was in contempt of orders of the Court of Appeal.
She further went ahead to file an application for review of a decision well knowing that the parties that she was taking to court have since ceased to exist. More so, she further circumvented the decision of the Supreme Court that only recently found her in contempt by the said actions.
“You are the brain that has been behind all this saga of illegally liquidating Crane Bank with the sole intention of depriving our client the fruits of the orders of the Court of Appeal. Further by insisting to file a suit showing that Crane Bank is in Liquidation, which the Supreme Court has held that it can’t be done, your conduct is illegal, mala fide and in contempt of orders of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court,” the notice reads.
The interests of justice therefore demand that a mandatory interlocutory injunction is issued to restore the status quo that existed at the time of filing Civil Appeal No.07 of 2020”. It further continues “In the present case, the contempt by the 2nd respondent relates to conduct which perverts the course of justice. The attempt at circumvention of the decision of the Court of Appeal by altering the status of the 1st respondent from Crane Bank (in receivership) to Crane Bank (in liquidation) was in our view aimed at impeding or perverting the course of justice before this court and the same amounted to contempt.
Ms Kasule leads the list of those implicated in contempt of Court. Others are Governor Emmanuel Mutebile, Deputy Governor, Executive Director Supervision, Director Research, and Director Economic among others.