KAMPALA – As court prepares to hear the case involving Bank of Uganda and Crane Bank, it has emerged that Sebalu & Lule Advocates are to represent Bank of Uganda yet the lawyers represented Dfcu Bank which took over Crane Bank and its assets.
Having worked for Dfcu, Sebalu & Lule Advocates know much about Dfcu Bank which repossessed Crane Banks assets worth over Shs1 trillion.
To be fair the law firm should withdraw out of the case to give neutral firms a chance.
Court months ago dropped MMAKS and AF Mpanga in mediation talks between Crane Bank and Bank of Uganda, the two firms having represented Crane Bank but now were turning out to represent Bank of Uganda.
In October 25, 2016 Bank of Uganda took over Crane Bank and suspended all members of its board, arguing that the bank had run out of required liquidity and posed a systemic risk to the country’s banking sector.
BOU later sold Crane Bank to Dfcu Bank in January this year, enabling it to make huge profits in billions of shillings.
It is also seeking to recover freehold land titles for the Crane Bank branches, general damages and costs of the suit. However, the land titles belong to another entity and in whose names they are registered in.
Mr Ruparelia has always denied any wrongdoing in a Shs397 billion case in the Commercial Court. He also has denied responsibility for the collapse of the bank which was taken over by BoU and liquidated to dfcu bank in October last year.
However, leaked FBI documents reveal that before Crane Bank was even taken over by BoU, top regime minister and a host of top officials at central bank had plotted on how to sell Crane Bank.
Meanwhile, in a document, the shareholders accuse the Central Bank and DFCU of among others; taking over the CBL leases without the knowledge and consent of the lease guarantors; failing to value Crane Bank assets to determine their market value before sale and, collusion to defraud the taxpayer and the Crane Bank shareholders, among them tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia.
DFCU is partly owned by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), a British government-owned company, together with Rabo Development from the Netherlands and NorFinance from Norway, who are shareholders in Arise B.V together with Norfund, a Norwegian government-owned Private Equity firm and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank.
So who are the shareholders? Dfcu is partly owned by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) a British government-owned company, together with other foreign firms like Rabo Development from the Netherlands and NorFinance from Norway who are shareholders in Arise B.V together with Norfund, a Norwegian government owned Private Equity firm and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank.
DFCU Shareholding percentages
Arise BV 58.71 per cent
CDC Group of the United Kingdom 9.97 per cent
National Social Security Fund (Uganda) 7.69 per cent
Kimberlite Frontier Africa Naster Fund 6.15 per cent
2 undisclosed Institutional Investors 3.22 per cent
SSB-Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 0.98 per cent
Vanderbilt University 0.87 per cent
Blakeney Management 0.63 per cent
Bank of Uganda Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme 0.59 per cent
Retail investors 11.19 per cent