KAMPALA, Uganda: The New Year has started with a new twist of events regarding the on-going case between City Tycoon and Property mogul Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia and Bank of Uganda.
The Investigator has established that much as BoU had initially wanted to appeal the lower case decision where the courts ruled that the lawyers erred by confliction, scores of the central Bank legal experts (lawyers) are divided over pursuing the appeal. The trending events, we can reveal due to the continued in-fights among the top BOU officials is threatening to expose the officials’ weird behaviors and graft more.
Just before the Christmas holidays, the Commercial Court ruled that the lawyers, namely; David Mpanga of Mpanga-Bowmans law, Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi of MMAKS Advocates and firm were acting to the detriment of Ruparelia when they represented the BoU in a case involving the Crane Bank, now in receivership.
It should be noted that the two, apart from being very close ‘friends’ to Dr. Ruparelia, they were his lawyers. The court ordered the two lawyers off the case, a development that has now reportedly set the BOU team on a collision path, with some senior officials in the Central Bank’s legal department against the idea of an appeal financed by the bank.
The fear we have gathered is that should the Central Bank lose again in the court of appeal, they would face hefty compensation charges in addition to the one awarded earlier by the Commercial court.
In a statement issued shortly after the ruling, the BOU indicated it would appeal against the ruling. But according to sources, several meetings held between officials of the legal and supervisory departments and other senior directors, in a bid to file an appeal on time have aborted or failed to yield any agreeable position.
According to sources at the BOU, the Director of Legal Department Ms Margaret Kasule hinted that that lodging an appeal in a case where BoU wasn’t a party will complicate the main suit that involves the Central Bank and Crane Bank, when the two sides are likely to start negotiations.
Dr. Ruparelia revealed to The Investigator after the court ruling that he was happy with the ruling and was ready for mediation. We can report here that much as reports were rife that the Deputy Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende had initially supported the idea of appealing, he has since backtracked regarding the same.
Only one outstanding figure, Ms. Justine Bagyenda the Director Supervision, we are reliably informed, has reportedly stuck to her guns of having BOU file an appeal and that she wants lawyers Mpanga and Masembe retained as counsel for the main suit.
It should be recalled that in the ruling delivered by Commercial Court Registrar Lillian Bucyana on behalf of Justice David Wangutsi, the Judge said the continued representation of BOU by Masembe Kanyerezi and Mpanga would defeat the importance of secrecy because both lawyers knew that there existed a ‘substantial relation between the applicant and them’.
“A lot of information must have flown between them; conflict of interest may not exist but secrecy. Mr. Mpanga negotiated and drafted the Confidential Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement however, developed disagreements. The moment Mpanga drafted the agreement he should have known that this was part of the assignments with the applicant. And therefore his status as a potential witness is known,” Ms. Bucyana said.
In the same spirit, Ruparelia insists he cannot hold negotiations with BoU when the ‘conflicted lawyers’ are part of the team. This case will go down Uganda’s history as one of the most expensive cases where reports are rife that so far over UGX3bn has been dished out to the legal experts.