Sudhir demands quick court win

Nearly 19 days after he counter-sued Bank of Uganda (BOU) for $8 million and got no response, businessman Sudhir Ruparelia yesterday wrote to the Commercial court asking for a quick judgment in his favour.Sudhir, the owner of the defunct Crane bank, wants court to enter a default judgment because BOU failed to respond to his counter claim within the mandatory 15 days.  A default judgment is a binding judgment in favour of either party based on failure to take action by the other party. Most often, it is a judgment in favour of a plaintiff when the defendant fails to respond to summons to appear before a court of law.When he filed his defence on August 3, 2017 against a BOU suit accusing him of stealing over Shs 400 billion from Crane bank, Sudhir also filed a counter claim against the central bank.  Sudhir RupareliaIn the counter claim, Sudhir wants BOU to pay him $8m for breach of clause 12 of their Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement (CSRA).  The clause stipulates that, “Without prejudice to the immediate forgoing should any legal or administrative proceeding of any kind ensue against SR [Sudhir Ruparelia] as defined in the agreement, the agreement stands voided and BOU shall immediately return SR the value of the settlement.”   On August 10, 2007, Sudhir filed an amendment to the counterclaim and served BOU lawyers, saying that Justice David Wangutusi should find BOU culpable for unjust enrichment having taken Sudhir’s money and refused to return Crane bank.Sudhir claims BOU also went ahead to institute civil proceedings against him contrary to the CSRA. Through Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), Sudhir said yesterday that BOU officials were supposed to respond to his counter claim within 15 days from the date of service of the amended counter claim.  BOU, the businessman said, has never filed a response.   “On August 28, 2017, we carried out a search in the register at the Commercial court and established that the counter defendants [BOU] had not filed a reply to the counter claim,” says Sudhir’s letter to the Commercial court. “To this end, the counter defendants are out of time within which to file a reply.”  Sudhir said he should win the case without any fight from BOU. “This is, therefore, to pray that a default judgment be entered against the counter defendants [BOU] for payment of USD8,000,000, together with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum as sought in the counterclaim,” Sudhir said.   Asked why they hadn’t filed a defence yet, David Mpanga, a lawyer for BOU, said they were pulled back by Sudhir’s amendments to his counter claim and that the businessman’s lawyers “forgot to serve me”.   Prodded about Mpanga’s assertions, Sudhir’s lawyers admitted they didn’t serve Mpanga but said they served BOU secretary and MMAKS who are the lead lawyers of the bank.In response to Sudhir’s request, MMAKS advocates yesterday wrote a letter to the registrar of the commercial court, accusing KAA of repeatedly refusing to serve AF Mpanga Advocates despite earlier protests. Nevertheless, the BOU lawyers insist that Sudhir’s application is premature.     In his counter claim, Sudhir said that on January 27, 2017, BOU sold at an undisclosed sum, assets of Crane bank to Dfcu Bank Limited. After the assets sale, Sudhir said, central bank approached him and urged him to settle the dispute, resulting in an agreement captured in the CSRA.Last evening, BOU filed its defence filed yesterday; saying Sudhir’s narrative of the CSRA and the circumstances surrounding the failure of its implementation is selective.BOU says Sudhir’s account fails to take into account the basic fact that the counter claimant himself was in fundamental breach of the CSRA, after he refused to provide the settlement consideration in the terms of Clause 3 of the CSRA.According to BoU Clause 3.1 of the CSRA says, “In consideration of BOU and CBL [Crane Bank limited] agreeing to settle and release claims as specified in the Confidential Settlement and release agreement, SR [Sudhir Ruparelia] agrees: “to pay and/or procure the payment to BOU of the aggregate amount of US $60,000,000.00 (the Settlement Consideration); and (b) to transfer to CBL {In Receivership) or its nominee the Freehold and Mailo titles.”BOU says that the take over the management of Crane Bank  and  placing it  under receivership; and entering into an arrangement under which DFCU Bank Limited purchased the banks’  assets and assumed its liabilities, were all done in good faith, for appropriate cause and lawfully pursuant to express powers vested in it as regulator under the Financial Institutions Act (FIA).  
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Uganda News Headlines




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