After being caught having dug a massive UGX311Bn financial hole in his own Crane Bank, a panicky Sudhir Ruparelia begged not to be hanged by the Central Bank. During the talks between him and the Central Bank, Sudhir had initially proposed to make amends for the loot in a period of five years.
The Central Bank, however, flatly rejected what he was talking about and demanded him to instead sort the mess he had occassioned in one financial year calendar. The businessman would later on go on and offer to stake his resorts in Munyonnyo and Baumann House to be used as a guarantee to refund the loot. Sudhir’s confidants had counseled him to resolve the matter amicably to avoid a shameful and long-winded court trial.
He was set to introduce the bargains to the Commercial Court Head as he was then, Justice David Wangutusi,to ask him to send them to the full negotiations with the Central Bank. Yet, he was trying to buy time, it would seem, to find loopholes in the case the Central Bank had already filed through Crane Bank, to use to escape from prosecution.
Sudhir would later use the excuse of the Central Bank having used the techinically dead Crane Bank to file a case against him and without seeking his consent as a shareholder and, a director together with the consents of other fellow directors prior to the filing of the case itself.
Yet, the Central Bank had discovered Sudhir to have all along been taking them for a ride since he was the only shareholder of Crane Bank, with the others he had been fronting to be shareholers also being merely ghosts, a stance which in itself, was against the law. Apart from pleading that excuse, Sudhir was also accusing the Central Bank of leaking the `confidential` agreement he had signed with them previously, begging to resolve the matter amicably.
The other excuse Sudhir was using is that of his own lawyers who had crossed over to the Central Bank, to prosecute him and were now trying to use secrets he had shared with them in confidence, to pin him in court.The lawyers he was complaining about including Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi and David Fredrick Mpanga were actually ejected from the case by Justice Wangutusi.
That was a big blow dealt to the case since these ones are powerful lawyers who were going to be able to stand up to the quality of those of the firm of Kampala Associated Advocates Sudhir had retained to defend him. Even then, the whole case would end up collapsing prematurely after the Judge adjudged it to be irregular for, merely because it had been filed by Crane Bank which was no longer vested with powers to sue or to be sued and even, the court of appeal itself held so.
What that meant is that the confession Sudhir had made, plus a refund the billions of shillings he had taken out of Crane Bank, were now invalid! And also, even the funds which had been spent by the Central Bank to try to revive Crane Bank, but only to be diverted. Plus the ones the Central Bank had used to hire the private auditors to evaluate the extent of damage Sudhir had occassioned to his own bank.
These, without mentioning the ones the Central Bank had spent on filing the case. All these monies weregoing to end up going up in flames because of those simple technical issues which could not allow the case to proceed fully and adjudged on its own merit. And those were not going to be the only tragedies for the taxpayer to bear. The Central Bank was also going to use more billions of public money to give to Sudhir in legal costs!
- 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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