Lawyers refuse to release documents pinning Sudhir

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Sudhir Ruparelia

Bank of Uganda lawyers have dragged their feet as regards releasing documents which former Crane Bank owner, Sudhir Ruparelia, asked in order to prepare his defence.

The central bank dragged Sudhir to High Court in Kampala accusing him of embezzling over Shs400bn from Crane bank before it was placed under receivership.

Lawyers led by Counsel Peter Kabatsi of the Kampala Associated Advocates who represent Sudhir in the matter, recently filed an application demanding that Crane Bank lawyers release 26 documents to allow their client prepare his defence.

The documents include a forensic report by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the Operations of Crane Bank before being taken over by BoU in 2016 and evidence showing Sudhir took out Shs8.2bn from Crane bank disguised as credit facilities to Infinity Investments Limited before writing off the big sum of money as a bad debt.

However, Crane bank lawyers MMAKS Advocates and Mpanga AF Advocates on Monday wrote back declining the request and suggested they would hand in only one document of the 26 requested.

In a notice to document inspectors, Mpanga advocates said documents sought by Sudhir’s lawyers were not mentioned in the original suit filed in High Court on June 30th 2017, apart from only one document marked as “Item 24.”

This (Item 24,) the lawyers agreed to produce not later than tomorrow, Tuesday August first, and the rest at the Scheduling Conference.

“Notice that no “reference is made” in the plaint filed by the plaintiff on the 30th of June 2017 to any of the documents listed as items 1 to 26 (other than item 24) of the “Notice to produce Documents” filed on the 21st of July 2017,” such as to entitle the defendants to production of those documents at this stage of the suit.”

“With respect to Item 24, of the “Notice to Produce Documents,” a copy shall be availed to the defendants’ advocates on or by close of business on the 1st of August 2017,” they added.