Bank of Uganda (BoU) has dropped the lawyers it had earlier hired to represent it in the multi-million dollar case against city property Mogul Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments.
The BoU accuses Mr Ruparelia of fraudulently taking out $92.8m (about Ugx. 334b) and another Ugx. 8.2b of depositors’ money from Crane Bank for personal gain leading to its collapse.
The BoU also accuses Sudhir of failing or refusing to remit more than Ugx. 52b in workers’ contributions to the National Social Security Fund.
On the other hand, Sudhir accuses the Bank of all Banks for flouting key terms of a Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement he signed with the central bank.
On Monday 13 November, the two parties appeared before court, only to notice that BoU had procured a new set of lawyers- Sebalu Lule & Co. Advocates, dropping Timothy Masembe Kanyerezi of MMAKS Advocates and David Mpanga from FK Mpanga and Company Advocates. Sudhir accuses the lawyers of conflict of interest.
Through his lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates, Sudhir told court that on several occasions, companies in which he was a shareholder gave instructions to MMAKs Advocates and sought legal assistance from them on daily basis. Sudhir wants court to direct that the lawyers be listed as his witnesses in the case.
Sebalu & Lule is a leading Ugandan business law firm. Founded in 1980, we are one of the oldest and largest law firms in the country. The Law firm, is a market-leading expertise in banking and finance, capital markets, projects and infrastructure, power (energy, oil and gas and mining), corporate and commercial law, mergers, acquisitions and private equity, employment and employee benefits, tax, real estate and conveyancing, non-profit organizations and commercial and civil dispute resolution.
Social media was awash with stories claiming that BoU paid Ugx. 13 billion [and that the bank had already paid half of this money [Ugx. 13 billion] to the lawyers representing them in the case.
The BoU has in the past denied spending such huge amounts on the case. However, they have not stated the amount they have paid the lawyers representing them in the case.
Meanwhile Principle Judge Yorakamu Bamwine, has been appointed the new mediator between Sudhir and Bank of Uganda. This comes after the two parties rejected the earlier appointed mediator Harriet Magala. The two parties have said they have confidence in the principle judge.
Sources say Justice Bamwine on Monday met Sudhir and his lawyer Peter Kabatsi and Bank of Uganda supervision Director Justine Bagyenda for closed -door meeting. Sudhir and his lawyer refused to disclose the details of the meeting.