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Respect Supreme Court ruling – Sudhir’s lawyers to BoU

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Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), the lawyers representing tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Ltd, have responded to Bank of Uganda’s claim that an application before Court for wrongful extracti is still pending.

“The statement by BOU that a review application is pending before the Court is incorrect. This review application arises from an appeal which was finally determined by their own withdrawal. It therefore stands moot. Contrary to the assertions of BOU, the ruling of the court was within the ambit of the Financial Institutions Act. It was overtaken by events,” reads part of the statement from KAA.

The Law firm noted that BOU is subject to laws of Uganda and can not act like they are beyond the law.

“The import of the Supreme Court decision is that BOU is also subject to the laws of Uganda and cannot act in a manner that places it beyond the reach of the law,” the statement from KAA reads.

In a landmark ruling on 11th February 2022, Supreme Court directed that the management of Crane Bank be reverted to its shareholders and also ordered the central bank to pay the costs of the case bringing an end to a five year court battle.

The judges in their ruling further said that in ruling civil application No.32 of 2020 and found that indeed, receivership of the appellant had ended on January 20, 2018. The said the implication of the finding in their view was that the management of the appellant had reverted to shareholders after January 20,2018.

“In the result, this appeal is dismissed with costs to the respondents in the terms found by the lower courts. The dismissal of the instant appeal takes effect as of the date of endorsement of this ruling. We so order,” Justices Ruby Opio Aweri, Faith Mwondha, Prof. Tibatemwa-Ekirikubinza and Percy Night Tuhaise ruled.

The full statement from KAA;

Our attention has been drawn to a statement issued by Bank of Uganda on the Supreme Court Ruling in Civil Appeal No. 07 of 2020; Crane Bank Limited (In Receivership) Vs Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited. We have noted with concern that the statement contains many incorrect assertions, and it has become necessary for us to respond to it to set the record straight.

BOU placed Crane Bank Limited (CBL) under Receivership on the January 24 2017. BOU then sold CBL the next day- January, 25 2017. BOU used CBL to file an action in the High Court (Civil Suit No. 493 of 2017) against Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited.

We objected to the case on the basis that it had no merit. The suit was dismissed with costs against BOU. BOU, through CBL, then appealed to the Court of Appeal (Civil Appeal No. 252 of 2019).

The Court of Appeal upheld all the findings of the High Court and dismissed the Appeal with costs against BOU and also found that receivership had ended in January 2018 in accordance with the express provisions of the law

In the Supreme Court, BoU filed two applications for injunctions to prevent the shareholders of Crane Bank Limited from taking over the management Company, since receivership had ended. The Supreme Court dismissed both applications with costs.

Not only did the Supreme Court find that the Applications had no merit, but it also found that the Bank of Uganda was acting in bad faith. The Supreme Court also found that there was very little chance of success in the appeal that had been filed by Bank of Uganda.

In a bizarre turn of events, BoU purported to place Crane Bank into liquidation with the intention of winding it up and that way forever extinguishing the rights of its shareholders and avoiding accountability.

BOU, through CBL, also filed another application in the Supreme Court to change the parties to the appeal. The Supreme Court later found that the liquidation was contrary to the law. This Application was also dismissed with costs, by the Supreme Court.

BOU then applied to withdraw its Appeal after submissions had been closed in a number of their applications and for which rulings were pending. Strangely, in the Application to withdraw the Appeal they also sought to overturn some of the decisions of the Court of Appeal and High Court. We objected to the withdrawal and applied to court to dismiss the Appeal.

The Supreme Court finally ruled on the matters in its Judgment in Civil Appeal No. 7 of 2020, where it ordered that: i) The Appeal is hereby dismissed with costs, ii) The costs shall be borne by Bank of Uganda. The dismissal of the Appeal shall take effect from the date of this judgment being the 11th February, 2022 and iii) The Appellant’s receivership ended on 20th January 2018 and thereafter its management reverted to the shareholders.

We would like to inform the public that on 11th February 2022, the Supreme Court finally and conclusively determined the dispute between BOU and our Clients.

The effect of the Supreme Court decision is that the company has reverted to its shareholders. The decision also means that BOU lost control of CBL from the 20th of January, 2018 and any decision made on behalf of CBL by BOU is reversed. This is not a mere technicality. This is a fundamental principle- those in authority must act in accordance with the express provisions of the Law. BOU cannot exercise power outside or against the law. Nor is it above the law.

The statement by BOU that a review application is pending before the Court is incorrect. This review application arises from an appeal which was finally determined by their own withdrawal. It therefore stands moot. Contrary to the assertions of BOU, the ruling of the court was within the ambit of the Financial Institutions Act. It was overtaken by events.”

The import of the Supreme Court decision is that BOU is also subject to the laws of Uganda and cannot act in a manner that places it beyond the reach of the law. BOU must act within the four corners of the laws of Uganda.

Our Clients shall take all the necessary steps to ensure that BOU complies with the Orders of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Uganda.

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