Trouble Looms! Disgruntled Ex- Crane Bank Employees Drag DFCU to Court Over Fraud, Human Rights Violations! Demand Production & Inspection Of Several Documents

Former employees of Crane Bank Limited (CBL) which was fraudulently taken over by Bank of Uganda (BoU) and later sold on phone have again dragged DFCU on behalf of 700 others to the High Court to compel production and inspection of several documents hitherto with held by DFCU Bank Ltd.

This comes after High Court in Kampala granted permission to over 400 ex-employees of Crane Bank to sue the Bank after breach of contract and unfair dismissal.

Crane bank had promised its employees that they would not lose their jobs after DFCU Bank took over.

However, when DFCU took over in January 2017, it laid off some employees in a guise of a restructuring exercise.

Through their Lawyers Maxim Advocates and Centre for Legal Aid led by Namahe Sheila and Isaac Ssemakadde, On 1st October 2020 the applicants petitioned High Court Civil Suit No. 335 of 2020 against the respondent for reinstatement, an account, damages, interest and costs for unjust discrimination and other human rights violations, fraud, negligence, breach of duty, bad faith, breach of trust and unjust enrichment in relation to the restructuring purportedly undertaken by the respondent in 2017 which resulted in both wrongful and constructive dismissals of numerous former Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) employees.

The respondent filed a Written Statement of Defence (WSD) on 22 October 2020.

On 16 November 2020, in a bid to obtain further and better particulars of matters pleaded in the WSD, the applicants through their counsel at Centre for Legal Aid filed and served on the respondents counsel M/s Sebalu & Luke Advocates a notice to produce documents which were expressly or impliedly referred to in the WSD.

The respondent has since unjustifiably failed to respond to the aforesaid notice.

This website has since learnt that On April 7 2021, mediation was closed at noon after the parties failed to agree on a settlement and immediately the former Crane Bank workers, represented by top human rights lawyers Isaac Ssemakadde and Namahe Sheila filed and served on DFCU Bank’s lawyers Sebalu & Lule Advocates an application to compel production and inspection of several documents hitherto witheld by DFCU Bank Ltd.

The petitioners lawyers said dfcu violated many provisions in Uganda’s constitution as well as the country’s labour laws.

“They are entitled to reinstatement if they so wish as first priority if not they are entitled to recover compensation and this compensation would be substantial because dfcu violated numerous norms and standards in our constitution.

According to the suit, ex-crane bank employees want DFCU to address the following …

1. That the respondent’s agents and servants be ordered to produce and permit the applicants and their advocates inspect and make copies of the following documents or classes of documents, namely:

(a) The Purchase of Assets and Assumption of Liabilities Agreement between the Bank of Uganda and the respondent referred to in paras 5.2 and 5.3 of the Witness Statement of Defence (WSD);

(b) The lists of employees referred to in paras 5.4, 5.5(a)-e), 56, 5.7 and 5.8 of the WSD and in the list of documents attached to the WSD, plus their respective contracts of employment with Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) and/or the respondent

Written notices of resignation as referred to in para 5.4(b) of the WSD;

(d) Any and all contracts of the “employees retained by the respondent [that]were revised to ensure pay and benefits parity with the respondent’s employees” as implied in para 5.5 of the WSD;

Any and all documents showing that the respondent did not underpay former CBL staff for doing the same or broadly simiar jobs or jobs of equal value compared to pre-existing employees of the respondent” as impied in para 5.5 of the WSD, including the payroll of the respondent in the month before the acquisition of CBL business December 2016 to January 2017), the payroll of the respondent after the acquisition of CBL business from 25 January 2017 to 23 October 2017 and the corresponding returns and payment slips for PAYE and NSSF contributions:

(g) The list(s) of former CBL employees that were laid off for reasons implied in para 5.6(a) of the WSD

(h) The list(s) of former CBL employees that were laid off for reasons implied in para 5.6(b) of the WSD;

Any and all documents showing the respondent’s “branch optimization process” implied in para 5.6(c) of the WSD:

The list(s) of former CBL employees that were laid off for reasons implied in para 5.6(c) of the WSD;

Any and all termination letters for the employees referred to in para 5.7(a) of the WSD;

The notification made to the Commissioner of Labour referred to in para 5.7(b) of the WSD;

(m) Any and all documents showing that the respondent promptly paid “appropriate termination packages (including relocation allowances)” to the employees referred to in pera 5.7(c) of the WSD;

(n) Certificates of service referred to in para 5.70 of the WSD;

(0) List of roles that were allegedly duplicated as indicated in paras 5.6(c) and 5.8(a) of the WSD;

(p) List of expatriates who were not retained as indicated in para 5.8(c) of WSD;

(q) Written notice of the advice referred to in para 5.8(d) of the WSD;

(r) Any and all documents showing that the respondent made an ex gratia payment of UGX 1,000,000/- to all laid off employees as indicated in para 5.8(e) of WSD, and

s) Any and all documents notifying former CBL employees about the respondent’s grievance redress mechanism referred to in para 5.8(f) of the WSD.

2) That costs of this application be paid by the respondent with a certificate for two counsel.

The ruling is set for April 28, 2021 at 11:00am

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