Dfcu bank has again vacated four more buildings owned by Meera Investments, one of billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia’s companies.
The exited building are situated in Iganga on plot 76-Old Market Street, Banda at Shell Kyambogo-Jinja Road, Entebbe on plot 10 – Kampala Road and Kabale on plot 141- Kabale Kisoro Road.
“We have moved. Starting Monday 2nd March we look forward to serving you at our new locations. Additionally, note that Kyambogo University branch will be merged with Banda branch effective 1st April 2020,” Dfcu said in a statement this week.
In January this year, the commercial bank started packing its belongs out of Sudhir properties following a long battle that saw Dfcu Bank suffer repercussions of entering a Crane Bank deal with Bank of Uganda which has since gone bad.
Dfcu first informed its customers and staff that it was moving its Kampala Road Branch to its new premises at plot 40 Kampala Road effective February Monday 3, 2020.
“During the process , you can access our services at Market Street Suncity and Kyadondo branches in addition to our digital channels,” the management said in a notice.
Bank of Uganda in its annual report 2018/2019, revealed that on September 12, 2019, dfcu told them about its decision to rescind its interest in purchasing the 48 properties belonging to Meera Investments Limited pursuant to clause 8.7 of the agreement.
DFCU has been operating its business in buildings/properties belonging to Meera Investments Limited since it controversially acquired Crane Bank Limited in January 2017.
The deal has cost Dfcu its corporate governance reputation as a number of flaws have over the years been cited in deal. After bank of Uganda lost a case to Sudhir last year, DFCU realised they are going nowhere with BoU assurances and the secret deal they made wasn’t standing.
“As part of rescinding of the purchase, dfcu will return to Bank of Uganda Certificates of title for Meera Investments Limited properties and requires Bank of Uganda to pay dfcu the net book value of the properties recorded in the assets and inventory compilation report as at October 20, 2016,” BoU stated in another move that would see lots of criticism since DFCU got buildings without spending a coin.
The commercial bank requested for Shs47 billion refund yet it had paid Shs10 billion so far for the properties.
However, according to a highly placed source at BoU, the governor Prof Emmanuel Mutebile was not willing to meet dfcu Bank officials to resolve the matter after it transferred 48 lease titles of Meera Investments back to the Central Bank. When dfcu made a submission for the refund, BoU tasked its officials to justify the Shs47 billion which they failed to do.
In October last year, dfcu denied claims that it was closing some of its branches across the country. Media reports had alleged that the commercial bank was in a move to close 22 of its branches starting October 14, 2019.
In a statement, dfcu said, “The Bank wishes to clarify that the purported notice in respect to branch closures is false and did not originate from dfcu Bank.”
The bank which has a network of 63 branches across the country further revealed that they are in the process of implementing their digital strategy to drive better customer experience, improve efficiency and align their operations with emerging trends in the financial sector.
Nevertheless, what remained a fact was that dfcu was considering vacating 22 buildings of Sudhir Ruparelia’s 48 properties.
The development came hot on the heels of High Court Commercial Division ruling in favour of the property mogul in a Shs397 billion lawsuit that was filed by the central bank against him in the aftermath of the closure of Crane Bank.
In his ruling, Justice David Wangutusi stated that BoU/Crane Bank (in receivership) did not have a legal basis to sue Sudhir, the owner of Crane Bank, then the second biggest bank in Uganda.
Court ordered Bank of Uganda to pay Sudhir’s legal costs.
BoU /Crane Bank in Receivership sued the property mogul and Meera Investments Limited for allegedly fleecing the defunct Crane Bank Limited (CBL) of Shs397 billion that the central bank wanted refunded.
Sudhir denied the allegation and has since counter-sued BoU, seeking compensation of $8m (Shs28 billion) in damages for breach of contract.
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