Posts tagged as: meera-investments

Uganda: Court Battle Pitting BoU Against Ex-Crane Bank Owner Begins

The hearing of the case pitting Uganda’s banking regulator against real estate mogul and former owner of Crane Bank, Suphir Ruparelia, begun Wednesday at Kampala High Court.

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) accuses the businessman of siphoning $105 million from the collapsed Crane Bank over a 10-year period.

Further, BoU accuses Mr Ruparelia of fraudulently grabbing 48 properties built with Crane Bank money that he later transferred to Meera Investments, his real estate business, before leasing them back to the bank at exorbitant prices. The Central Bank is suing Mr Ruparelia and Meera Investments jointly.

The Central Bank wants Mr Ruparelia to pay back over Ush650 billion ($178.2 million), for the 48 properties, that includes interest in addition to handing over the titles.

BoU took over the management of Crane Bank in September last year, citing that the bank was “grossly undercapitalised and paused a systemic risk to the financial sector.” The Central Bank later sold the lender to DFCU Bank.

In his defence and in a counter suit against BoU, the businessman accuses the Central Bank of failing to properly execute its supervisory functions, which he says led to the collapse of his bank.

He also alleges that BoU wrote him a letter blackmailing him to settle the case out-of-court or face criminal proceedings after they had filed their plaint in June.

The real estate magnate also accuses BoU lawyers –MMAKS and AF Mpaga– of conflict of interest and faults the Central Bank for breach of Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement. He says the two law firms have represented his Meera Investments firm.

The court battles, president over by Justice David Wangutusti, is likely to open a Pandora’s box for the Central Bank.

At least two other suits against BoU have been filed by private citizens over the collapse of Crane Bank.

Uganda

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Uganda: Businessman Ruparelia Wins Bid to Provide Office Space to MPs

City businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has won the bid to provide office space to Members of Parliament.

Ruparelia’s company, Meera Investments Limited, the proprietor of Queen Chambers on Parliamentary Avenue, beat off competition from three other companies to win the bid to provide office space to legislators and parliamentary staff.

Obabaru Okello, the deputy clerk of finance and administration, in a bid notice, dated October 6 and displayed on parliament’s notice board, states that Meera Investments was evaluated as the best bidder for the procurement requirements, which include the building being in close proximity to parliament and not more than 400 metres.

The unsuccessful bidders include Yampe Limited, which owns a newly constructed building on Portal Avenue, on grounds that it is costly.

Rumee Investments Limited, which owns a building on Lumumba Avenue, did not meet the requirement of being located within a 400-metre radius of parliament while Twed Property Development Limited did not submit a bid security in their submission.

During the evaluation process, a team from parliament, on inspection of Queen Chambers, had raised a red flag on the building, citing poor drainage system and stained toilets. However, the ministry of Works later cleared the building for occupancy.

Chris Obore, parliament’s director of communications, confirmed the development.

“It is true that the contracts committee which evaluated the bids zeroed in on Queen’s Chambers because they emerged as the best candidate for the contract,” Obore said on phone.

The contract price for office space is Shs 4.5bn for a period of two years and an additional Shs 70.4m for installation of window blinds.

According to Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) regulations, the notice gives unsuccessful bidders ten working days after the display of the best evaluated bidder notice.

“The notice will be removed on October 19. Before this date, the unsuccessful bidders can lodge complaints or raise objections to the contracts committee for scrutiny,” Obore says.

This means that if no complaints are raised within the 10 days, Meera Investments will sign the contract with parliament, which has been grappling with office space for the 431 MPs.

The MPs have been forced to share offices as a temporary measure while parliament acquired more office space.

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