By Musisi Yiga John- Updated at 1729 EAT on FEB 11th 2022
The supreme court has dismissed with costs an appeal by Bank of Uganda against Business tycoon Sudhir and his company, Meera Investment Limited
The court Ruling ordering the Central Bank of Uganda to pay the costs of the appeal at all court levels, right from the Commercial Bank, Uganda’s principal court also ordered that Crane Bank be returned to its owners
Today’s verdict draws the curtains down on a long-drawn-out legal battle between Ruparelia and the national bank regulator. this legal showdown began 2017
The ruling in favour of the real estate mogul means that Ruparelia will not have to fork out the shs397 billion that the Bank of Uganda had wanted him to pay.
“Bank of Uganda stole my bank,” Ruparelia declared after the court ruling in Kampala.
“They have to pay costs of suit right from the Commercial Bank to the Supreme Court.”
The ruling was essentially on an application to withdraw an appeal and the party that was supposed to meet the costs of the withdrawal of the said appeal.
Crane Bank Limited (currently under receivership) had sued Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited in the High Court Commercial Division.
The bank had sought recovery of money, allegedly misappropriated by Sudhir Ruparelia as a director and majority shareholder.
The bank had also sought delivery of freehold certificates of title to 48 properties with duly executed transfer deeds in its favour.
Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited challenged the competency of the suit.
Sudhir Ruparelia has fought long and hard to repossess Crane Bank.
Earlier, a source informed this journalist that Meera Investments Ltd, Uganda’s largest private property owner, and Crane Management Services (CMS), Uganda’s leading Real Estate Company, reportedly closed ranks to take Development Finance Company of Uganda Bank Limited (DFCU) to court.
The two property giants were said to be filing a case suing DFCU for taking over the branches and ATMs which were operated by Crane Bank, but were under the property portfolio of the two.
Before Meera Investments Ltd and CMS left the buildings, which now house DFCU, last year they allegedly embarked on negotiations for the restoration of the said branches to Meera and CMS, which they claim DFCU failed to honor.
This left the two with no other option but to sue DFCU for the restoration of the properties in question, which came along with the reclamation of rent arrears owed to them by the bank.
Meera Investment Limited and CMS belong to the Ruparelia Group, which owns Crane Bank.
On January 20, 2017, Crane Bank Limited was placed under receivership and its assets and liabilities were sold to DFCU bank after five days, on January 25, 2017.
Sudhir Ruparelia is the founder of Ruparelia Group, one of Uganda’s largest conglomerates.
The company owns a commercial bank, a string of hotels and country clubs and more than 200 commercial properties. Sudhir’s investments are also in the areas of insurance, education, broadcasting, real estate, floriculture and resorts.
With a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion, Sudhir Ruparelia is said to be the richest man in Uganda.