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DFCU’s Mugerwa: Gov’t Must Act on Fake News Campaign Against Banks

dfcu Bank Board Chairman Jimmy D. Mugerwa, has appealed to policy makers, regulators and the Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) to take action against individuals sponsoring a protracted smear campaign of fake news against commercial banks.

Mugerwa said there has been a lot of negativity especially on social media platforms targeting banks particularly DFCU Bank.

He said the banking sector is very critical to the financial sector and general economy hence the need for strong protection.

“Attacking and sabotaging the banks is very disastrous to the Economy and those doing it are enemies of the people and this country,” said Mugerwa.

“The regulators must come out strongly to protect the investment if this sector is going to move forward.”

Mugerwa made the brief remarks at the 3rd Annual Uganda Bankers Conference held Tuesday at Serena hotel.

Mugerwa who was invited to introduce the Conference’s keynote speaker, Ms Marianne Schoemaker, the Managing Director Rabo Partnership, used the opportunity to make the appeal

“All the concerned regulators are here, the Central Bank, Uganda Bankers Association, Ministry of Finance… This is an urgent issue that needs your attention,” he said.

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Last year, dfcu Bank threatened to sue and demanded a public apology from Rajiv Ruparelia, a major figure in the Ruparelia Group business empire, for allegedly sponsoring and paying for a sustained social media and online websites attack against dfcu and its senior managers with the view of destabilising the bank.

“You have variously paid operators of online new sites and blogs (sic) to spread malicious falsehoods about our client and its senior management, all to create an impression that our client is in a precarious situation and an ownership and management crisis whereas this is not the case,” the notice written by the bank’s lawyers, Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa and Company Advocates and seen by Daily Monitor, reads in part.

While Rajiv denied the claims, attacks on dfcu have continued unabated.

The fake news campaign against dfcu compelled governments of Norway and Netherlands, where the main investors are based, to write to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija urging him to intervene,

The European governments expressed concern over a sustained string of “rumours” and “negative propaganda” against Dfcu bank Limited, the owners of Dfcu Bank, saying the false information could “impact investor confidence and foreign direct investment in Uganda.”

On Monday, dfcu blasted the exaggerated reports of fraud at the institution, saying detectives were investigating a fraud case of less than Shs 500m.

Agriculture 

Meanwhile, Ms Schoemaker made a keynote address on the Conference theme, “De-risking financing and investment in agriculture to promote decent youth employment and inclusive growth.”

RABO Bank, which is partly owned by ARISE, a big shareholders of the DFCU bank has been at the forefront of financing agricultural solutions in Uganda and around the world.

Schoemaker in her remarks urged the Uganda banking sector to look into more innovative solutions that can allow inexpensive agricultural financing.

The Conference was attended by the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija, Governor Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Mutebile, heads of different commercial banks, Officials from World Bank, officials from the MasterCard foundation among others.

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