On October 28, a team of five top officials of Bank of Uganda (BoU), convened to strategize on how they could effectively handle the Supreme Court appeal involving city property mogul, Sudhir Ruparelia and Crane Bank in receivership.
The group was led by deputy bank governor, Mr Michael Atingi-Ego, met under a gathering dubbed “meeting on the proposed strategy on Crane Bank appeal”.
Other officials were; Ms Susan Kanyembwa, the bank secretary, Mr Tumubweinee Twinemanzi, the Executive Director Supervision, Ms Margaret K. Kasule, the bank’s Legal Counsel and Mr Benedict Makaga, who played the role of taking minutes for the one hour brain storming meeting.
Also high on the agenda, was how to firmly keep any document regarding Crane Bank appeal to avoid any mishaps along the way.
“With respect to one of the proposals from legal counsel, the chair noted that it is imperative for BoU to have a comprehensive and centralized record of all documents in its possession related to Crane Bank,” the minutes of the meeting read in part
“This need is important to support the ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court and for any other future legal actions that BoU might take in relation to Crane Bank Ltd. It was emphasized that time is of essence to gather all the documents in a centralized location.
“Centralize all documents pertaining to the Crane Bank and have them digitized given the nature of the case, the potential for interference and the colossal sum of money involved. Ensure security and safe custody of all Crane Bank documents and in particular, supporting the forensic investigations by PWC and documents related to the insider loans given that they are to be used in court as evidence.”
The minutes reveal that the members were informed of how Crane Bank documents are not stored in one place as the same are scattered in various bank offices including the legal department, Bank Secretary’s office, office of the Deputy Governor and Governor’s office.
It was also noted that PWC had submitted to the bank, the original documents supporting the forensic investigation findings (some are laminated) regarding Crane Bank and these documents are kept in Supervision Directorate.
Further about the Crane Bank appeal, the meeting agreed that there was need to preserve the status quo until the Supreme Court determines the final appeal.
To that effect, the meeting was informed that two separate applications have since been filed to remedy it.
This, they said was because Mr Ruparelia had written to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), notifying them about how the receivership of Crane Bank had lapsed and that the businessman along with other directors, had wanted to repossess the bank.
“Subsequently, BoU applied for both an interim and permanent injunctions in the Supreme Court against executing the orders from the Court of Appeal. Both are yet to be determined. The main objective of these applications is preservation of the status quo pending resolution of the main appeal in the Supreme Court.” The minutes further read.
The Supreme Court has since disposed off one of the applications by dismissing it in favor of Mr Ruparelia and URSB.
Update on progression of Crane Bank into liquidation was another sticky issue that was discussed.
As the meeting progressed, legal counsel, Ms Kasule, informed the members that matters of Crane Bank require progression to liquidation as earlier advised, which advice, had been supported by their external legal counsel of M/S Shonubi and Co. Advocates.
Likewise, the Executive Director Supervision, informed the meeting that he was in agreement to have all the documents related about Crane Bank archived as advised by the legal counsel and bank secretary.
But he quickly added that there was need to fast track the archiving process and that though the priority now is Crane bank, other closed banks should be considered.
At the tail end of their one-hour intense meeting, the top central bank officials, came up with four action points.
They included; the team from Supervision Directorate that commenced on this process for all closed banks, be augmented with staff from Legal Department and Board Affairs Department, the augmented team shall give priority in the archival and document collating process and centralisation therefore, to any and all documents related in any way to Crane Bank Ltd and in particular, its resolution.
They stressed that the central point would be the Security Registry in the Bank Secretary’s Directorate and will only be accessed simultaneously by the three offices of Executive Directors, legal counsel and bank secretary.
The other action point were that the central bank was to await on the Supreme Court decision on the transition from receivership to liquidation and that progression into liquidation is a necessary step to resume recovery of insider loans.
This they said was to be fast-tracked so that BoU was not caught out by the law of limitation.