By Ivan Mwine
Asian businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has become a point of interest to the public especially because of the rate at which he wins all court cases including those recently filed against him by Bank of Uganda, KACITA and Simbamanyo Estates.
Investigators who are watching Sudhir and his cronies reveal that he has mastered machinations that involves swaying the judicial system and BoU officials to his side to ensure that he wins all the cases that are filed against companies he owns under Meera Investments Limited.
Indeed, they, the investigators, contend that there are several cases that have been filed against Sudhir and although in most of these cases the judgments should have been in favor of the plaintiffs, the judges always end up ruling in his favor.
One of the most vivid examples is the case which Bank of Uganda filed against Sudhir, accusing him of siphoning off Shs397Bn, depositors’ money from Crane Bank before it was closed down and put under receivership.
A forensic audit by renowned auditors KPMG had discovered that Crane Bank(U) Ltd had become bankrupt, and that Sudhir, plus his cronies had contributed to its insolvency by siphoning off close to Shs397Bn.
BoU filed a case in court vide HCCS No.493 of 2017, to make him and his cronies refund this money they had siphoned out of the bank and that had led to its collapse.
However, before even the High Court could pronounce itself on the matter, Sudhir and his team took BoU on a merry- go- round by raising several Preliminary Objections.
And this is how the courts have assisted him to get away, so far, with the loot that was the depositors money.
There is a saying that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. In the instant case one can add that it is a case of blind justice.
The justices have refused to see what the auditors saw during their forensic audit and told all the people concerned what they had seen.
As a result, everyone sees/knows that indeed Sudhir siphoned from his own bank of colossal sums of money and the law of natural justice demands that he refunds this money.
This is what is puzzling many people; that none of the people concerned are showing any interest in the heist!! Who is protecting this man? It is obvious that this is money laundering under the guise of foreign investment.
Sudhir walked out of the supreme court recently with billions in costs; suffice it to say that this will be taxpayers’ money he will be getting in addition to the depositors’ money he siphoned from his bank before it was closed.
It is preposterous that things like these should happen in this country. Something like this would have landed a local investor in jail like what happened to Suleimani Kiggundu. Instead, this one is being rewarded with colossal sums of money!!
What is most intriguing in this matter is that Bank of Uganda officials led by Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and others, without consulting or seeking permission from Parliament, injected Shs400Bn into Crane Bank, well knowing that it is tax payers’ money being forked out from the national treasury, then a few months later wound up the same bank.
Sudhir and his Co-accused must be made to cough up the depositors’ money they swindled from Crane Bank before it went into receivership.
The law of natural justice demands that BoU and all those concerned do their bit to recover the UGX397Bn, depositors’ money, Sudhir and his cronies swindled out of Crane Bank plus interest applicable.
Damages for failing to run the bank with due care, for stealing from the bank and for converting assets meant for the bank to other entities owned by them.
Sudhir and his team must be directed to pay further damages for using proxies to steal from Crane Bank Ltd, for using proxies to pass off as shareholders of Crane Bank, for influencing Crane Bank Ltd staff to engage in crime for his benefit and for denying his confession.
Unless of course the mighty Justices are determined to conjure up other procedural excuses to defeat the cause of justice. This is money was received and must be recovered.
And it will go a long way to cover up the hole left by the (UGX 4000Bn) BoU sunk into the already collapsing bank.
Meanwhile BoU must be commended for having moved quickly to put Crane Bank under receivership for if BoU had not acted quickly, the collapsing bank would have adversely affected the financial services sector, including the national coffers.
However, a word of caution here for the regulator, they should never again splash or pump money into a collapsed bank like they did this one. This unnecessarily bleeds the national treasury.
This kind of action further gives the managers and shareholders time to compromise witnesses and anyone else capable of spilling the beans, investigators and some judicial officers.
It gives the culprits time to sponsor the disappearance of key witnesses and accomplices, destroy evidence, break into government offices to steal documents containing fictitious shareholders, alter ownership of properties owned by the collapsed bank, rob billions of cash left behind by the collapsed bank, stash away the robbed cash in quick developments and write off debts due to the collapsed bank taken by the culprits themselves.