By our reporter
Property mogul Sudhir Ruparelia through his company Crane Management Services Company (CMS), has dragged Dfcu Bank to court, once again for breach of various tenancy agreements in respect to 13 properties in Kampala and Mbale.
In the case (HCCS No.109 of 2018), CMS is demanding USD385,728 and UGX2,998,558,624 as rental arrears. This is before interest, general damages, interest on general damages and costs of the suit.
Dfcu is being sued on account of being the successor in title to Crane Bank (in receivership) and as such “having by its conduct assumed the rights and obligations under the tenancies in respect of the suit properties.
“They took occupation of the premises and continued to operate from them, they removed all Crane Bank branding, adverts and notices, substituting them with their own, an indicator that they were the new tenant.”
Dfcu also paid arrears on part of the properties to the tune of $81,408 (about Shs219m), an indicator that they acknowledged occupancy of the premises.
In some of the cases, Dfcu- despite having assumed both the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank (in receivership) failed and or refused to pay arrears, especially covering the period between October 2016 when the central bank put Crane Bank under administration and January 2017 when BoU handed over Crane Bank to Dfcu.
Other claims are built on instances where some of the properties were prepaid but on the expiry of the prepaid period, Dfcu did not pay, but continued occupying the premises till they elected to vacate the premises at the end of April 2017.
There are also claims emanating from contracts that mandated Dfcu to serve CMS a three-month notice period before leaving, but Dfcu left without serving notice.
By the time Crane Bank was put into receivership in October 2016, the one-year prepaid rent had just expired. For the period between October 2016- April 2017 that both the Central Bank and Dfcu occupied it, they never paid rent to CMS and when Dfcu closed that particular branch of Crane Bank and walked away, there were seven months of rent arrears and an unexpired period off the 5-year contract of 24 months amounting to total of USD242,812.32.
In another rental agreement Crane Bank rented 38 apartments for staff on Plots 22, 24, 26 Kampala Road at a monthly UGX 53,928,000. The contract was fixed for five years with a 7% interest. By the time Dfcu vacated the premises in April 2017 without renegotiating the contract, the unexpired period on the contract made them liable for UGX2,873,246,953.
This comes on the heels of previous two suits where Dfcu is being sued for allegedly “fraudulently” and “illegally” transferring 42 properties belonging to Meera Investments into Dfcu’s name.
Dfcu is yet to formally file their defence.
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