Shocking secrets have come out showing how Crane Bank proprietor Sudhir Ruparellia frustrated BoU on the talks the President had directed in order to protect him against being prosecuted for criminally mismanaging his own Crane bank.
Sources have told this website that when BoU moved in to control the mess and Crane Bank and protect the clients who had their money there, they discovered that the bank had only Ugx1,500,000,000 in its possession. This was against depositor obligations of more than Ugx1trn.
That’s how Price Waterhouse Coopers auditors discovered things which had gone wrong. BoU had to stabilize the economy by using its own capital (and that’s how BoU became insolvent) to make sure depositors didn’t get to know that their money had been diverted to other things creating liquidity problems for Crane Bank Ltd which forced BoU to come in and solve it. This was dangerous because Crane Bank was the 3rd largest bank in Uganda at that time. Sudhir and other shareholders were supposed to be arrested and prosecuted which never happened because Museveni pleaded for them.
Instead, BoU agreed that Sudhir and other shareholders must repay the tax payers’ money BoU had used, which was in a tune of more than Ugx400bn to cater for the depositors. BoU hired city law firms like MMAKS to recover the money from Sudhir and other shareholders. Meetings would he held at MMAKS headquarters at Diamond Trust. When lawyers wrote to the Kenyan shareholder Rasik Kantaria, he panicked and first feared coming to Ugandan for BoU meetings because he feared he would be arrested because the Crane bank mess was a very big case which in a normal country was clearly going to lead shareholders to Luzira.
The Kenyan-based Indian shareholder later on agreed to come but he was full of fear. A total of USD80m was at stake and BoU hired the MMAKS lawyers to recover it from Crane bank shareholders. The Kenyan shareholder was assured by BoU that he wouldn’t be arrested and that’s why he agreed to come for the meetings
In the first meeting, the Kenyan shareholder Kantaria cried like a little boy and repented his sins saying he was misled by his business partner Sudhir to embrace the Crane Bank saga. The lawyers told him all was well and all he had to do to escape jail was to pay up to his liability as a shareholder. The Kenyan/Indian shareholder who was escorted by lawyers from a law firm called ABMAK in Kololo thanked the lawyers and immediately agreed to pay USD7.5m not to be prosecuted. Sudhir whose extravagancy is understood to have caused Crane bank liquidity problems also paid USD8m and promised to pay the balance later. The balance was USD65m. When Sudhir failed to get the money, he came back to BoU lawyers and said he had his properties which he was staking to cover the USD65m.
Bank of Uganda agrees
BoU management and board agreed that if he can surrender his properties, then it’s okay. Meetings were held at Diamond Trust building inside MMAKS offices but Sudhir made a U turn and started acting funny. He complained to Museveni that the BoU lawyers were very complicated. The Indian tycoon is understood to have caused Crane bank problems because he was lending to politically exposed entities and these are borrowers who took cash without being able to pay back and yet they are too powerful for the bank to foreclose by way of attaching their security properties. Others were unable to pay because the loans weren’t properly assessed against the amounts sought right from day one. When he was ready with the properties, Sudhir gave a phone call to BoU officials and meetings were held at MMAKS lawyers’ offices. While there, Sudhir’s lawyers shocked everybody when they delivered titles for properties that were legally not good for any value. These included 50 acres of land covering the whole of Kinawataka wetland. The BoU lawyers wondered how anyone can have a private title in a wetland which is supposed to be gazetted public land.
They even doubted there can be 50 acres in Kinawataka.
They refused that title and Sudhir’s lawyer quarreled and stormed out of the meeting. Sudhir also delivered a title for land in the Kitante valley which BoU lawyers rejected because it was similarly a wetland. Sudhir also tendered a title for the land situated in Kololo near Summit view. There was also land for the Nakasero primary school playground and the Kololo School which Bamugemereire is now investigating. The big tycoon was exposed on the Kololo land near Summit View. He gave in the title saying it was his land which BoU can sell to recover Ugandan taxpayers’ money. However, when BoU surveyors reached there they got arrested immediately by SFC soldiers.
They accused them of criminal trespass and made them crawl on their berries. The soldiers kept saying this land belongs to the army. The surveyors were detained for many days for illegally accessing the army land under Summit View barracks in Kololo. BoU top management had to contact the President for the surveyors to be released. The surveyors were so terrified some of them even resigned their jobs and refused to go to any other Sudhir land for similar surveying. Apart from the SFC chasing them away saying this is army land, the surveyors also found that the Kololo land was bad property because it had no regular access road meaning that even if BoU had accepted it, there would be little value because of the access problems. On being told of his weaknesses, Sudhir became even more annoyed and started accusing the MMAKS lawyers of being complicated.
He also reported to the President that the BoU team had refused his land titles because MMAKS MD Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi hates and wants him to die in prison. The lawyers wrote to BoU showing that the properties combined wouldn’t exceed USD13m in value as opposed to the USD45M that was still pending. The lawyers also advised BoU not to accept the properties because the Auditor General and MPs would in future raise a red flag for causing financial loss because BoU would be asked why they accepted wetlands which is clearly public land.
Sudhir made the talks even more complicated when he started demanding that BoU gives him back the titles for properties like Bauman House which used to be an extension of Parliament. Bauman was taken by BoU/DFCU because it’s among the properties or companies of Sudhir which were borrowing from Crane Bank and the rich Indian wanted BoU to return it to him to strengthen his tenancy arrangements with Parliament and later on the Ministry of Justice which now rents Bauman. BoU bosses refused which led to problems and made the tycoon even more annoyed.