Home » Uganda’s richest man Sudhir Ruparelia regains control of Crane Bank

Uganda’s richest man Sudhir Ruparelia regains control of Crane Bank

by Omokolade Ajayi

Uganda’s richest man, Sudhir Ruparelia, has recovered control of Ugandan commercial banking firm, Crane Bank Limited, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

Ruparelia is the chairman and founder of Ruparelia Group, one of Uganda’s major conglomerates, which is primarily involved in education, real estate development and management, hotels, resorts, floriculture and broadcasting.

The Supreme Court’s decision in favor of Ruparelia, who had a net worth of $1.1 billion in 2012, signals the end of a five-year legal struggle that preceded the collapse of the Ugandan commercial bank.

The court action came as a result of an appeal filed by the Bank of Uganda against Ruparelia and his business Meera Investments Limited, Uganda’s single largest private property owner.

In the appeal, the Bank of Uganda charged Ruparelia and his firm with inflicting Crane Bank financial damages totaling UGX397 billion ($112.4 million) through fraudulent transactions and land title transfers.

As part of the decision, the Supreme Court ordered the Bank of Uganda to pay all court costs assessed by the Court of Appeal. The court also decided that Crane Bank was a non-existent organization since it was placed under receivership three years ago.

As a result, it transferred control of Crane Bank to Meera Investments.

Ruparelia’s legal counsel acknowledged the judgment, adding that the businessman has spent the majority of his time and resources over the past five years on the pursuit of justice.

“On his part, Ruparelia has stated that the funds he is accused of siphoning did not reach Crane Bank and that the Legal department of the Bank of Uganda delayed the case in order to continue benefitting from legal expenses,” Ruparelia’s lawyer, Peter Kabatsi, said.

Prior to its closure in October 2016, Crane Bank Limited was one of Uganda’s largest financial services firms, with a client base of 750,000 and assets of UGX1.81 trillion ($512.7 million).

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