By Kagenyi Lukka
The rift at the Central Bank has deepened. The gloves are now off. In fact, sources say that the two principals, Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and his deputy, Dr. Louis Kasekende, no longer see eye to eye.
Reason: The return of titles of the 48 properties that Dfcu had illegally taken from Crane Bank yet they belong to Meera Investments Ltd, a company belonging to city tycoon, Sudhir Ruparerelia.
This ugly twist has now been escalated by the fact that whereas Mutebile’s side is for the return of the property to Sudhir while Kasekende’s group at the bank is against the move.
The feud has also brought to the fore the fact that Sudhir’s property was illegal transferred to Dfcu with a motive of fleecing tax payers’ money, which now explains, why Mutebile and Kasekende are no longer at par.
Last month, it was reported that Dfcu has finalized a plan to lay off staff that were operating branches that were illegally acquired from Crane Bank to pave way for the repossession of the same by city businessman, Sudhir Ruparerelia’s Meera Investments.
But sources say, things are now getting bad, and the truth has started to come out, punctuated by the current Ping-Pong game between the Central Bank top bosses and Dfcu.
The group that hobnobbed with Dfcu to illegally acquire Sudhir’s property is now afraid of the repercussions, a trend which sources say, has flown the central bank into tatters.
The fights have also vindicated claims that battle lines between Mutebile and Kasekende at the highest level of Bank of Uganda have been drawn with the left wing where Kasekende sits and right wing which houses Mutebile are no go areas for visitors or staff that work in offices of both principals.
This power struggle is not healthy for the Central Bank, and indeed the economy of the country.
The power struggle indeed makes it impossible for workers to operate freely at the bank due to fear of vindication from either camp of the BoU top echelons.
The emerging differences at the Central Bank have deepened at a time when in its annual report (2018/2019), Bank of Uganda has confirmed that: “Dfcu in a letter dated September 12, 2019 communicated its decision to exercise its option to rescind its interest in purchasing the 48 properties pursuant to clause 8.7 of the agreement.”
According to the report, which is signed by the Governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile, it is now confirmed that Dfcu will exit the properties in the wake of tough legal battles that were instituted by Sudhir to save his property from the greedy alliance of Dfcu and BoU.
“As part of rescinding of this purchase, Dfcu will return to BoU certificates of title for Meera Investments Limited, properties and requires BoU to pay to Dfcu Bank Limited the net book value of the properties recorded in the assets and inventory compilation report as at October 20, 2016,” BoU’s annual report, states.
The BoU report notes that the decision to vomit Meera Investment Ltd property has been taken as a result of the merging pressure from court following a recent ruling where Sudhir beat the Central Bank hands down after the country’s top bank had dragged Crane Bank in receivership to court over the properties.
This development from the Central Bank’s annual report also confirms a recent development that Dfcu had already instructed staff operating from Meera Properties that housed Crane Bank branches, which they had taken over illegally, to vacate.
Sudhir had disputed tis illegal takeover of Meera properties, but the Central Bank and Dfcu had remained adamant, until court ordered Dfcu to vacate after it emerged that a city law firm, Sebalu& Lule Advoates had misled Dfcu in taking over the buildings.
The law firm has since been banned from representing Dfcu Bank in the dispute after conflict of interest was cited.
This development proves the high level of incompetency at the Central Bank and also shades light on the mafia-like circumstances that led to the fraudulent sale of Crane Bank to Dfcu.
It also casts doubt on the acquisition process of Crane Bank by Dfcu. As the country pondered on the impact of the Central Bank’s report, Dfcu’s managing director, Mathias Katamba, also wrote a letter to Mutebile, confirming the development, and that, the Central Bank, will pay sh48b tax payers’ money to Dfcu as a result of this failed transaction as the sale of Crane Bank fallout between the Central Bank and Dfcu deepens.
But why would tax payers pay sh48b to Dfcu for vacating property that was first of all acquired illegally from Crane Bank? And second, given the fact that this property was acquired at 10% of the total investment that Dfcu injected into the acquisition process of Crane Bank, it does not make sense for the bank to be paid sh48b tax payers’ money for vacating Meera properties?
In any case, it is Meera Investments Ltd, owned by Sudhir that should be compensated by the ź Bank and Dfcu for illegally occupying their premises hence curtailing their source of income from the buildings! It is this sh48b; sources say that has brought the rift between the top principals at the Central Bank.
The writer is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP Ikiiki County in Budaka District.