Development Finance Company of Uganda Bank Limited (DFCU) is in more trouble as Crane Management Services moves to recover over Shs4 billion as rent arrears accruing from 13 properties, some with multiple units, which were being rented by Crane Bank, now in receivership.
Crane Management Services is a real estate company that lets out properties on behalf of Meera Investments Limited.
In the plaint filed by Messrs. Magna Advocates dated February 15, the Bank of Uganda is also dragged into the picture for transferring the assets and liabilities managed by Crane Management Services including the 13 properties to DFCU Bank on January 25, 2017, in error.
‘On the 25th day of January 2017, the Bank of Uganda as a Receiver represented that it had transferred the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank Limited to the Defendant (DFCU Bank)’, Magna Advocates aver, adding that the latter also acknowledged acquiring the properties now under contestation.
The various rent obligations claimed by the plaintiff, all in one-year pre-paid contract in the period between March 2016 and July 2021 and now being demanded are US$385, 728.54 (approx. 1.15 billion) and UgShs 2, 998, 558, 624, and for Plot 9 Market Street (Crane Bank branch and ATM); Plot 1-13 Jinja Road (Crane Bank branch); Plot 47 Republic Road Mbale (branch); Speke Hotel (ATM); Plot 9 Cooper Road (Crane Plaza/branch) and Plot 20 Kampala Road (branch).
Other rental arrears being demanded include those for apartments on Bombo Road, Kira Road, William Street, Market Street and Nkrumah Road; Plot 28 Luwum Street, and eight staff apartments on Snay Bin Amir Street and several flats on Plot 22/24/26 on Kampala Road.
According to the plaint, the DFCU Bank, as acknowledgment that it had taken over tenancy from Crane Bank, made a series of payments among them that of US$81, 408 and UgShs219, 210, 728 to Crane Management Services.
Other payments made include that of UgShs410, 303, 436 for utilities; US$531.000; US$362, 524 and US$168, 476.
‘Subsequently, by a letter dated 4th May 2017, Bank of Uganda as the receiver of Crane Bank Limited (in receivership) informed the plaintiff as the duly letting agent of Meera Investments Ltd that BOU in its capacity as the receiver had transferred the right to and benefit of the pre-paid rent in respect of some of the suit properties formerly occupied by Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) and managed by the Plaintiff to the Defendant as at the 25th of January 2017’, the plaint states in part.
In a related development, yesterday the EagleOnline reported that last week Meera Investments Limited, also through Magna Advocates, sought to recover US$8, 660, 462 from DFCU Bank, money the plaintiff said had accrued from rent arrears of two prime properties on Kampala Road after the Bank of Uganda took over management of Crane Bank, in October 2016.
Crane Bank, now in receivership, was a tenant of Meera Investments Limited, and the latter was making rent arrears claim in respect of Plot 38 Kampala Road, covering the Basement, Ground, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th floor, and Plot 40 on the same road.
Since the takeover of Crane Back in 2016, businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, one of the shareholders in the CB and the Bank of Uganda have been engaged in a series of court battles, one of which saw the High Court Commercial Division bar city lawyers Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi of Ms. MMAKS Advocates, and David Mpanga of AF Mpanga Advocates from representing BoU.
By press time efforts it was not possible to get comment from the DFCU Bank.