By our reporter
Crane Bank continues to prove it was a huge animal to swallow, as more organizations get further entangled in its closure two years down the road.
Now it is turn for Dfcu, the bank which swallowed Crane Bank in a takeover which is still puzzling business analysts.
However, before the details of the take over have come to light, now two companies belonging to the former Crane Bank owner, have come to haunt Dfcu, which occupied and branded immediately the premises owned by property magnate Sudhir Ruparelia.
Meera Investments and Crane Management Services have now dragged DFCU bank to the Commercial division of the High Court over defaulting on rent after it took over Crane Bank.
Meera Investments and Crane Management Services are demanding that DFCU pays them more than Sh36 billion for the period it has been operating in the premises.
DFCU took over Crane bank on January 27, 2017 in a deal whose details are known to a few people.
According to court documents this website has seen, on February 19, 2018, Crane management services and Meera investments asked court that DFCU pays rent of the buildings formerly used by Crane Bank and now occupied by DFCU although some are not in use today after Dfcu rationalized its operations and realized it didn’t need all the branches.
Among the buildings which are managed by Crane management, DFCU took them over and later refused to pay rent. The properties are: Crane bank branch and Crane Bank ATM both found on Plot 9, Market Street, Crane Bank Branch, Plot 1-13, Jinja Road, Crane Bank branch (Plot 47, Republic Road, Mbale), Crane Bank ATM (Speke Hotel (1996) limited, Crane Bank ATM (Kampala Road), Apartment at Bombo road, Kiira Road, William Street, Market Street and Nkrumah Road.
Others are: Crane bank limited unit number 31 and 33 (Plot 28, Luwum Street), Crane Bank staff 8 apartments (Plot 1, Sinay Bin Amir street ), Crane Bank limited flats (Plot 22/24/26 ), Crane Bank limited staff flats (plot 22/24, 26, Crane Bank limited(plot 22/24/26) and Crane Bank staff flats (plot 22/24/26 all found on Kampala Road.)
Crane management, subsequently, says that it’s major claim against DFCU is that the bank is in breach of contract, if not, then it faces a charge of unjust enrichment since it has not paid Shs2.9 billion as rental arrears.
“The transactions out or which the Plaintiffs claim arises occurred in Kampala City, and the sum claimed USD 385.728.54 (United Slates Dollar Three Hundred Eighty Five Thousand Seven Hundred Twenty Eight and Fifty Four Cents Only) and UGX. 2.998,558.624 (Uganda Shillings Two Billion Nine Hundred Ninety Eight Million Five Hundred Fifty Eight Thousand and Six Hundred Twenty Four Only),” reads the suit.
This brings the total to Sh5bn.
Meera Investments tables Sh30 billion bill
The other buildings are Plot 38 Kampala road covering Basement, Ground, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 7th floors. The other is Plot 40A on Kampala Road which are owned by Meera Investments. Meera Investments says that DFCU has not paid rent amounting to $6,114,079 for plot 38 and another $2,5 million for Plot 40A Kampala Road. The total is $8.6 million which comes down to shs Sh30 billion.
This brings the total amount to more than Sh35 billion.
Indeed, in its suit, Crane management says that it wants DFCU to be held liable because it’s the successor to the title of Crane Bank limited which is now in receivership of Bank of Uganda.
Through Magna Advocates, Crane Management insists that by its conduct DFCU has assumed the rights and obligations under the tenancies in the aforementioned properties.
On 20th October 2016, BoU put Crane Bank under receivership and the bank continued to occupy the said premises.
On 25th January 2017, Bank of Uganda announced that it had transferred the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank to Dfcu, a fact that Dfcu confirmed by running notices in the newspapers that it had taken over the assets and liabilities.
Dfcu acknowledged being party to the existing agreement and assumed rights and obligations of the tenancy agreements.
“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,” says the suit.
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.
“The defendant (Dfcu) also paid utility arrears (Shs410m) to the plaintiff, confirming that it was the successor in title of Crane Bank Ltd and therefore took over obligations of Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership),” part of the suit reads.
Then Dfcu bank vacated the premises on 30th April 2017, while the said rental agreements were still running and the only agreement reached was that Dfcu pays $531,000 (about Shs1.9billion) in restoration costs.
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