In ordinary situations, when even a notorious robber is finally shot dead, his body is returned to the family members for a decent burial. The same would apply to the estate of the robber. The estate would be handed to the properly and legally appointed executors or administrators of the deceased.
Those legal administrators or executors would issue out the estate to the beneficiaries as per the wishes of dead man or as per the laws of the country and also sort out for the creditors. In an interesting and bizarre legal fight, Bank of Uganda has been, in it’s capacity as the regulator of financial institutions, fighting to hold onto the body and estate of Crane bank, seeking to recover billions in debts it owes to the Ugandan taxpayer.
Bank of Uganda was justified in holding Crane Bank’s estate looking to salvage the billions in debts it owes to the taxpayer. Problem is that the regulator of financial institutions started off on the wrong footing itself. Whilst it was justified in holding Crane bank to account for the taxpayer’s funds, the Central Bank legally messed up the whole process leading to the recovery of the billions in the first place.
For the record, Crane bank asked for public funds which was invested in it by the regulator, hoping that the defunct bank was going to survive and refund the cash. Yet the same billions of funds, unfortunately, ended up being scammed off by some crooked people who knew very well that Crane Bank had been properly ran down (excuse the pun), to survive closure.
Before Crane bank could pay back, Bank of Uganda closed it down. We mean, the regulator killed it off and yet proceeded to demand for the refund at the same time, from the dead entity. So, when Bank of Uganda proceeded to sue Ruparelia Sudhir, on behalf of the dead Crane bank, to recover the money which the businessman had asked for under the guise of financially rescuing the bank, it was a little too late.
Yes, the legally well fixed Sudhir Ruparelia had undertaken to refund the public funds in hundreds of Billions,received by Crane Bank. He did this in black and white, in point of fact. But then, the Central Bank iself bungled the repayment process, by the way they handled the management of Crane Bank.
This is why right from the time Justice David Wangutusi first heard and dismissed the case, the case had been as dead as Crane Bank itself. Granted, going by the latest judgement of the supreme Court, delivered by Justice Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekiribunza, Bank of Uganda would be required to hand back Crane Bank to Sudhir.
But, Sudhir is going to receive back a dead thing with whatever assets that are still available to it. Sudhir, frankly speaking, cannot bring back Crane Bank to life except with the permission of his `nemesis` Bank of Uganda itself. Crane bank cannot run minus a license duly granted by Bank of Uganda.
Like son Patrick Bitature, Like father Sudhir Ruparelia
This is not to suggest that Sudhir isn’t going to walk off with billions in legal costs and also claim for assets of Crane Bank. Much as the businessman is on record admitting to running down the same bank and agreeing to sort out the mess, the same didn’t come to fruition because Bank of Uganda recklessly handled the whole recovery process.
Just like the public is blaming Patrick Bitature for allegedly receiving and refusing to pay Vantage its money, citing legal inaccuracies committed by his creditors, Sudhir should socially be blamed for stealing and refusing to pay the taxpayer, hiding behind legal inaccuracies committed by BOU on behalf of Ugandan taxpayers. Actually, Sudhir is like the father to Bitature who, the latter emulated.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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