By Kagenyi Lukka
After being outsmarted by City Tycoon Dr.Sudhir Ruparelia in the commercial division of the high court on August 26, Uganda’s central bank toyed with the idea of making an appeal where they stand no chance of winning.
Justice David Wangutusi, ordered BoU to pay the suit costs to Sudhir. The ruling followed a suit in which the chairman Ruparelia Group had been accused of taking Shs.397 billion out of the financial institution in alleged fraudulent transactions and land title transfers.
Under civil suit no.493 of 2017 that had been instituted by the Crane bank (in receivership) against the applicant, Sudhir and Meera Investments sought for dismissal of the suit on the grounds that it was barred in court and did not disclose a cause of action.
As earlier noted in my previous submissions, Dr.Ruparelia denied all claims by BoU and filed a countersuit among other reasons arguing that Crane bank/BoU under receivership could not sue or be sued.
The Judge wisely associated himself with the submissions of the city tycoon who was ably represented by Kampala Associated Advocates. In a sum, it can be argued that and concluded that Bank of Uganda had a bad case
“In my view, the receivership was exhausted with that transfer and conveyance. The respondent (Crane Bank-in-receivership) therefore, had no locus standi (the right to appear in court) to file any suit claiming any property because it had ceased to exist. Nonetheless, the receivership would have in any case expired by now within 12 months from 24th January 2017” Justice Wangutusi ruled.
The million dollar question still remains. Who benefits from such suits even when it is so clear that BoU will lose?. Is the central bank captured by Mafias?
Bank of Uganda Appeals.
After the embarrassing defeat at the commercial court division of the high court, a meeting was hastily convened between the governor,BoU’s lawyers and the incompetent bank’s counsel Margret Kasule in which it was agreed that the bank should appeal against Justice David Wangutusi’s ruling even when the grounds are rather shaky and to the extreme end, so flimsy.
Indeed, this was confirmed byBoU’s director of communications, Charity Mugumya who recently stated that the Central Bank has vowed to restitute the dismissed commercial dispute and have it prosecuted to its logical conclusion.
“While Hon. Justice David Wangutusi dismissed the Shs397b case against Mr Sudhir on technicality, alleging that Crane Bank-in-receivership lost its powers to ‘sue’ or to be ‘sued’ thus rendering its suit a nullity, Crane Bank in receivership maintains that receivership is a management situation and hence no legal change as capacity to sue or to be sued,” reads the BoU statement in part.
In all this, it is the tax payer to bear such a monumental loss.
Why Sudhir is most likely to defeat BoU at appeal.
When something happens repetitively, it becomes routine and a norm.Sudhir has mastered the art of defeating the central bank on all legal fronts that BoU has attempted.
Defeat of MMAKS and AF Mpanga advocates.
First, In December 2017, Dr Sudhir Ruparelia successfully challenged other hideous and conflicted lawyers. Commercial court handed the business man an early Christmas present from the justice system after the high court disqualified Kampala law firms, MMAKS Advocates and AF Mpanga Advocates from representing Bank of Uganda in a case of fraud against the businessman over conflict of interest.
Court ruled that lawyers David Mpanga and Kanyerezi Masembe who previously represented Crane Bank were privy to confidential information regarding Sudhir and that this information could be used to the businessman’s disadvantage.
Defeat of Sebalu and Lule Advocates
Secondly, on 29th April 2019, Justice Paul Gadenya observed that Crane Management Services (CMS) had successfully proved that the law firms (Sebalu & Lule are “in possession of confidential information which is relevant, current and related to the head suit in HCCS No 109 of 2018 what would make them conflicted to act as counsel for the 2nd respondent against the applicant.”
“For the record, the engagement of the 1st respondent (Sebalu & Lule) as counsel for the 2nd respondent (dfcu) violated Regulation 4, 9 and 10 of the Advocates (Professional Conduct) Regulations,” Festo Nsenga read on behalf of Paul Gadenya.
“The application is allowed with the following orders: an injunction shall issue against the 1st respondent from representing the 2nd respondent in all matters in HCCS 109 of 2018. The respondents will pay the costs of this application,” Justice Gadenya ordered to the embarrassment of Sebalu and Lule advocates that were ably represented in court.
Sudhir has currently bagged three victories from court. These have not come by accident. The situation is not going to be dissimilar as BoU will not raise new grounds.The situation is not likely to be dissimilar at the appeal.BoU should put it house in order.
The author is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP Ikiiki County in Budaka district.