By our reporter
Crane Bank owned by wealthy property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia was taken over by Bank of Uganda in October 2016 on grounds that it was ‘undercapitalized’ and ‘posed a systematic risk to the banking sector in the country.
It was later sold to DFCU for an undisclosed amount which has not been revealed even to the shareholders of the defunct Crane bank.
For some months several analysts have pointed to anomalies in how the bank was closed down and sold, and each passing day, more indications point to dirt underhand methods at play.
Now, there’s a report detailing how top three Central Bank officials and a well-connected minister connived to hatch a plan to ‘illegally’ take over Crane Bank without the knowledge of Governor Emmanuel Mutebile.
In a report, it is alleged that both parties had agreed to declare Crane Bank non-performing, as they planned to sell it to some Asian Investors on grounds that Crane Bank Directors had allegedly tasked the minister in question to source for the would be investor to recapitalize the bank.
The plan was reportedly hatched in 2013 and as all this was unfolding, the directors of Crane Bank were unaware of the scheme.
However, according to Ugandan website www.eagle.co.ug, in 2014 Crane Bank management was surprised after the three Bank of Uganda officials informed them of how ‘‘poorly the bank was performing and the need to recapitalize the bank’.
In response to the issue of recapitalization, the Crane Bank directors indicated to the BoU officials that they were recovering money from the creditors who had taken loans and that in a year’s time, the Crane Bank would have enough capital to operate.
But in order to execute their already planned deal, the central Bank bosses in question worked tooth and nail to see the reply ignored and after a few months, the commercial bank was taken over.
It should be noted that last month, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa’s wife Edith Kutesa linked to have taken part in trying to sell Crane Bank to Chinese investors.
According to the complaint before New York Magistrate Kevin Fox where Sam Kutesa is accused of receiving a $500000 (about Shs. 1.8Billion) bribe, Ms Kutesa made attempts to interest the Chinese conglomerate in acquiring a bank in Uganda, — whose description by the court documents fits Crane Bank.
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