Bank of Uganda’s (BoU) lawyers have intensified preparations for the much-anticipated legal showdown with controversial Kampala businessman Sudhir Ruparelia accused of embezzling over Shs 400bn from his defunct Crane Bank.
The Commercial Court last week set November 21 as the date of hearing three applications which include allowing BoU to amend its pleadings.
ChimpReports understands that while Sudhir and BoU were given up to December 10 to embrace the mediation process, the central bank’s lawyers have continued preparing for action just in case the real estate mogul does not show up.
BoU’s litigation process will be led by Sebalu & Lule, Uganda’s leading and oldest business law firm.
The reputable firm provides full-service law practice with expertise in banking and finance, projects and infrastructure energy and commercial law among others.
The respected legal directories Chambers Global and The IFLR10000; The World’s leading financial law firms rank Sebalu & Lule in Band/Tier One, the highest rating level in the individual countries.
“It’s just a matter of time. If Sudhir does not show interest in mediation as it has been the case, the matter will be settled in courts of law,” said an official briefed about this matter.
Justice Wangutusi last year urged Sudhir and BoU to resolve their dispute out of court as the loser in the case would pay dearly.
It’s understood since last year, the two parties had never talked.
Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwiine who had been appointed as chief mediator on July 17 returned the file to Justice Wangutusi “without the input of the parties.”
But recently they agreed on the terms that will form the basis of the talks.
Nevertheless, officials said hopes of settling the matter out of court appears unlikely hence BoU lawyers’ decision to prepare for the showdown.
BoU contends Sudhir siphoned over sh400b through what they called highly sophisticated fraudulent transactions. Sudhir denies the charges.
The Central Bank now wants court to compel the embattled tycoon and his Meera Investments Company to pay back the money with interest; a situation that would push the Ruparelia business empire that stretches to Dubai, U.K. and Mauritius to the edge.
BOU also listed individuals it said colluded with, aided or facilitated Sudhir to carry out the alleged fraud.
Others named in the court documents are companies linked to the property mogul.
In its submissions, the Central Bank argued Sudhir operated phony bank accounts within Crane Bank, purposely to conceal what it called fraudulent transaction and deceive the Central Bank about the financial status of Crane Bank.
Sudhir reportedly perpetrated sophisticated false accounting “to cover up the hole in the plaintiff’s (Crane Bank) accounts.”
Sudhir’s business associates named in the alleged fraud include Jitendra Sanghani, Rasiklal Chhotalal Kantaria and Mohammed Ali.