Uganda: President Okayed Crane Bank Closure, Says Central Bank Governor

The Bank of Uganda Governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, has revealed that President Museveni gave the “go ahead” to close Crane Bank whose management the central bank took over last October due to its under-capitalisation.

“You would be mad to do such a thing (closing a bank) without briefing him (the President) on such an important action. He (Museveni) said ‘go ahead’,” the governor told this newspaper in an interview on Sunday.

Crane Bank, which a forensic audit later found was wholly owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, was Uganda’s fourth-largest commercial bank by the time of its dramatic collapse.

The central bank sold some of its assets and liabilities to dfcu Bank, but remained with the other liabilities the buyer could not take, and these developments culminated in Crane Bank and BoU jointly suing Mr Ruparelia.

The latter is yet to file his defence, although this newspaper understands that there are ongoing frantic informal efforts to delay the case, if not circumvent it altogether.

In the Sunday interview, Mr Mutebile said they discovered “too late” that Mr “Ruparelia had been involved in fraud, for lack of a better word, involving theft of depositors’ money”.

The BoU Governor said he was “sorry” and would take responsibility for “what went wrong” but added that “I am not criminally culpable”.Asked who then is criminally culpable, he replied: “Ask the [BoU] Executive Director for Supervision [Ms Justine Bagyenda]”.We were unable to reach Ms Bagyenda by press time.Mr Mutebile declined to discuss if he had spoken to Ms Bagyenda […]

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