Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed a multi-billion case in which Bank of Uganda had sued businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and his Meera investments accusing them of siphoning over sh397bn from the defunct Crane Bank.
In a ruling read in court by registrar Mary Babirye, Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny -Dollo, Justice Cheborion Barishaki and Justice Steven Musota unanimously noted that after a careful perusal of the evidence.
They found no misconduct against Sudhir that would warrant litigation and henceforth, ordered Bank of Uganda to pay costs incurred by the businessman to defend himself.
Bank of Uganda (BoU) /Crane Bank in receivership had sued Ruparelia and Meera Investments Limited accusing them of allegedly fleecing the defunct Crane Bank Limited (CBL) of Shs397 billion that the central bank wants to be refunded.
The Court of Appeal also noted that at the time of the filing of the suit in January 2017, Crane Bank Limited was already in receivership and a non-existing entity whose lifetime was terminated when Bank of Uganda sold its assets to DFCU in October 2016.
The judges also agreed with the High Court Judge David Wangutusi earlier ruling that being in receivership, Crane Bank had no capacity to institute legal proceedings against its former Director.
“In the instant case, we find no such misconduct relating to litigation on the part of the respondents and as such, we find no reason to deny the respondents’ costs of the suit. We, therefore, uphold the trial judge’s order as to costs. The appeal consequently fails. It is thus dismissed with costs here and the court below,” – ruling.
In August last year Bank of Uganda appealed Justice David Wangutusi ruling in which he had dismissed on a technicality, the sh397b lodged by Crane Bank in receivership against Sudhir Ruparelia, and his Meera Investment Company.
Justice Wangutusi in his ruling noted that Crane Bank had been placed under receivership and was insulated against legal proceedings according to Section 96 of the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) and, therefore, had no powers to sue Ruparelia.
Ruparelia was flanked by his son Rajiv Ruparelia and lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates requested for sanity to return to Bank of Uganda.
He noted that his lawyers would be submitting the costs they have incurred to BOU.
Byamugisha & Co. Advocates represented Bank of Uganda whilst Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA) represented Ruparelia and Meera.