Uganda: Crane Bank saga gets murkier as local tycoon joins court case

Three days after he filed a challenge to the closure of National Bank of Commerce (NBC), businessman Amos Nzeyi yesterday asked the Commercial court to consolidate his lawsuit with that of Bank of Uganda (BOU) suing Sudhir Ruparelia and his Meera Investments for alleged fraud.

In his suit filed on Wednesday, Nzeyi accuses BOU, Sudhir, his partner Raskillal Chhotalala Kantaria and Crane bank of illegally taking over NBC, a bank he co-owned with former prime minister Amama Mbabazi and others.

Crane bank was also taken over by Dfcu bank in January this year. He argued that BOU’s decision to take over and sell NBC’s assets to Crane bank within six hours on September 27, 2012 was in breach of the Financial Institutions Act 2004.

Now through Muwema and Company Advocates, Nzeyi argues that the two suits should be joined since they raise similar questions of law and fact regarding the regulatory powers of BOU under the Financial Institutions Act 2004.

He also insists that the two lawsuits raise questions about how Sudhir and Kantaria managed Crane bank. BOU, in its case, claims that Sudhir is the registered owner of 28.83 percent of the Crane bank’s shares.

Sudhir is also reportedly the owner of 47.33 percent of the bank’s shares registered in the names of White Sappire Ltd, a company incorporated in Mauritius and allegedly owned by Kantaria. According to Bank of Uganda, Sudhir, with the help of Kantaria, perpetrated sophisticated false accounting “to cover up the hole in the Crane bank accounts.”

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