In January 2017, Crane Bank was acquired by DFCU Bank at a cost of Shs200 billion ($52.8 million) on grounds that it was undercapitalized as declared by the regulator Bank of Uganda.
Crane Bank whose proprietor is businessman Sudhir Reparelia remained open under statutory management until most of its assets and liabilities would be transferred through a P&A to a suitable acquiring bank, DFCU, thereby avoiding disruption to its customers.
However, since its closure, Sudhir, his Meera Investments Ltd and Bank of Uganda have been in a long legal battle over the defunct bank.
In September this year, Bank of Uganda decided to withdraw a Supreme Court appeal that was contesting the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the case it filed on behalf of Crane Bank Ltd (in Receivership) vs. Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments Ltd.
In a September 15 notice of withdrawal, the Supreme Court Registrar indicated that BoU had decided not to prosecute the appeal and would pay costs.
Last year, Bank of Uganda ran to the Supreme Court to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling, which upheld an earlier High decision to dismiss a case that had been filed against businessman Sudhir by Crane Bank in receivership.
Prior, the Court of Appeal in Kampala threw out a case against Dr Sudhir.
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Sudhir have asked the court to compel Bank of Uganda to give back the assets of Crane Bank Limited to its original shareholders since its receivership ended in 2018.
The lawyers; Peter Kabatsi, Joseph Matsiko and Elison Karuhanga demand that BoU must not only return the bank to its shareholders but must also pay the costs Mr. Sudhir incurred throughout the long court battle with the central bank.
“The appellant receivership ended on January 2018 and BoU is to pay costs therein and in the court,” reads one of the documents from the court.
Lawyers say that since receivership ended, BoU does not have any options but to return the assets and pay the costs of the suits.