Sudhir vows to fight for return of Crane Bank assets, opens up on real estate investment - Daily Post Uganda

Sudhir vows to fight for return of Crane Bank assets, opens up on real estate investment

East Africa's largest property mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia

KAMPALA: East Africa’s largest property mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia has revealed why he invests heavily in real estate.

In an interview with the CEO East Africa Magazine on Wednesday, Dr Sudhir said real estate is a good sector to invest in with an average eight per cent -12 per cent returns on investment.

He noted that the construction and real estate sector, continues to attract a lot of attention from the banking sector, accounting for over 20 per cent of all private sector credit.

“Most of this money is being directed to the demand side where 70 per cent of all lending goes to financing residential and commercial mortgages, an indicator that demand is there,” said Dr Sudhir.

“Industry and group insights show, occupancy rates of above 80 per cent for Grade A and B office space in Kampala and above 70 per cent for warehouses. Residential occupancy rates in both the upscale suburbs and metropolitan suburbs also remain above 80 per cent. If projections of six per cent growth in the coming years come to pass, the sector should remain vibrant.”

Currently, the chairman and founder of Ruparelia Group own a string of hotels, country clubs and more than 200 commercial properties with the latest one being Kingdom Kampala Mall; an ultra-modern mixed use mall situated in the city’s Central Business District. Out of the 40,000m2 built up area, 22,000m2 is lettable, consisting of 18,000m2 of office space, 4,000m2 of retail as well as parking for up to 450 cars. The property has 10 floors of office space, 47 retail units and 3 floors of basement parking.

In the same interview, the businessman also revealed that he is determined to defend his group’s integrity following the dubious takeover of Crane Bank.

“As you are aware, we are in court contesting what we believe was an unjustified closure of our bank, but also the rushed negligent and fraudulent manner in which it was closed. So there is only little we can say at this moment as the matter is sub judice. However, our claims have so far been proven by the findings of the Auditor General and Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises [Cosase] who found out that the closure of Crane Bank and six other banks, breached several provisions of the Financial Institutions Act 2014 and was therefore illegal.

“We are determined to defend both our integrity and that which belongs to us. We are also determined to expose wrong doing by some of these entities that were involved in the fraudulent and illegal closures, because we know that it is not only us who were affected but many other Ugandans.”

Bank of Uganda in 2016 took over Crane Bank before selling to dfcu bank in January 2017 citing under capitalization.

However, due to the deviations that rotated around the takeover and sale process, Cosase was forced to kick off an investigation in October 2018, relying on a 2017 forensic report by the Auditor General John Muwanga.

During probe, a lot of irregularities committed by the central bank officials were cited thus exposing the rot in institution that oversees the commercial banking system of the country.


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