Former Executive Director- Supervision at Bank of Uganda (BoU) Justine Bagyenda directed owners of defunct Crane Bank Ltd to buy some assets and liabilities of National Bank of Commerce (NBC) that was co-owned by former Premier, Amama Mbabazi, tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia has said.
Appearing before Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE)on Wednesday, Sudhir, who is the former Vice Chairman of Crane Bank said: “CBL wasn’t interested in assets of NBC. CBL didn’t bid for these assets. CBL was compelled to acquire these assets by then EDS Bagyenda. She did this over the telephone.”
He added: “She called up the CBL MD, Kalan and informed us that she was directing us to acquire these assets. She wasn’t asking; it was an order from the authority.”
He further explained that when Bagyenda made the order to CBL, Kalan the then Managing Director of CBL called up the members of the board and informed them of the directive following which CBL signed the Purchase of Assets and Assumption of liabilities Agreement with BOU on 27th September 2012.
The businessman also denied allegations by NBC that Crane Bank took over their Kabale land, saying that the said land was never transferred to Crane Bank because CBL was never interested in the land in Kabale.
Sudhir also said that CBL paid Shs1.122bn as consideration for NBC and denied Crane Bank ever taking possession of NBC’s bad book, saying the said property wasn’t transferred to CBL and it is still in escrow account with the Central Bank.
The former CBL owner’s revelation shocked MPs with Katuntu stating that there is need to have the casual manner with which Bank of Uganda conducts business.
“The issue of telephone call isn’t the first time we are hearing this. We should be interested in how does our regulator conduct business. You can’t have a Central Bank of the country conduct business this way. This isn’t something I expect from financial sector. The most disciplined sector should be security and financial sector,” Katuntu said.