On October 20, 2016, Uganda’s Central Bank, the Bank of Uganda (BoU) announced that it had taken over the management of Crane Bank Ltd after the bank became “a significantly undercapitalized institution.”
Further, on February 27, 2017, BoU announced that dfcu Bank had taken over Crane Bank.
This was after Crane bank made a loss of Shs3.1bn in 2015, down from a net profit of Shs50.6bn in 2014. The loss arose as a result of high Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) that increased by 122.9% in 2015. The bank’s NPLs increased to Shs142.3bn in 2015, up from Shs19.36bn in 2014.
However, in a twist of events, a list of debtors has leaked showing that several tycoons and political leaders owed the bank several billion shillings. This means that if these politicians and tycoons had paid back their loans, the bank’s capital wouldn’t have been eroded and therefore it wouldn’t have gone under.
The list is contained in a plaint filed by then BoU external lawyers David Mpanga and Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe, who have since been replaced by Sebalu, Lule and Company Advocates. This is after court found them conflicted because they previously served as tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s lawyers.
The list shows that tycoon Amina Hersi Moghe, the Oasis Mall owner owed the Bank Shs11bn which she borrowed under Grapes Ltd.
Simba Telecom owned by businessman Patrick Bitature owed Crane Bank Shs12bn, while Road construction company Spencon Ltd owed the bank Shs22b.
Boost Investment Ltd owed the bank over Shs40bn.
Businessman Mukesh Shukla of Shumuk Group of Companies had a Shs2bn loan while Bob Kabonero of Kampala and Pyramid casinos also had a Shs2bn loan by the time the bank was taken over.
Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari of international consultancy firm Amproc had an outstanding balance of Shs2.2bn, while Property developer Christine Nabukeera of Nabukeera Plaza owed the bank US$5m (about Shs18bn going by the current exchange rate).
Fountain Publishers, a publishing company in Uganda and Rwanda owned by James Tumusiime, who also owns Igongo Country Hotel in Mbarara was yet to clear a Shs1.4bn loan by October 2016.
Kuku Foods, which supplies chicken to KFC an American fast food restaurant chain, had a Shs500 million loan, while tycoon Karim Hirji’s Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel had a $4.3m (about Shs15.6bn) loan.
Esther Ampumuza, a businesswoman had an outstanding balance of Shs600m loan.
Ministers, Powerful people
Crane Bank also lent Shs1.7 billion to Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and several government big wigs. Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa had an outstanding balance of Shs1bn while Former ISO Director General Ronnie Balya Rwakihumuro owed Shs562m.
Former Transport Minister Eng. John Nasasira owed the bank Shs400m, while Former ICT Minister Ham Mulira had an outstanding loan of Shs175m.
The former First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service Henry Kajura Muganwa had a Shs200m loan.
Among media personalities, Vision Group boss Robert Kabushenga owed Crane bank Shs176m while Independent Publications’ Andrew Mwenda owed the bank Shs250m.
Loans are one of the contentious issues that former Crane Bank shareholders want court to resolve.
The shareholders contend that Dfcu fraudulently and in connivance with Bank of Uganda officials took over a Shs600 billion bad loans portfolio for no payment at all.
BOU classified the loans in contention as non-performing, had the Crane Bank shareholders pay for them to the tune of Shs350 billion and then they were secretly transferred to Dfcu.
The shareholders contend that these loans fully secured by valuable securities and a large portion of them were collectable.