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SUDHIR/BOU WARS: The Naked Truth Exposed: Falsehoods Sudhir’s Fans Told Vs. Bank Of Uganda’s Kasekende

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L-R: Bagyenda, Sudhir, Edith Kasekende and husband Kasekende

Being the tycoon he is, there is little surprise that Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has many fans and supporters operating in the social media space. These have nowadays been very active character-assassinating BoU officials they see as being responsible for the collapse of his Crane Bank empire. One of the biggest victims is Dr. Louis Kasekende, his reclusive wife Edith Kasekende and his former BoU workmate Justina Bagyenda. Sudhir’s supporters have uttered many things on social media targeting Dr. Kasekende and his wife who should be less concerned about the husband’s public position. One of the most notorious falsehoods is that Edith was being used as a conduit to coordinate funny deals between the Deputy Governor and some of the law firms BoU hired to prosecute the Sudhir case and to also finalize the sale of CBL and the recovery of USD80m from Sudhir and other CBL shareholders. It has been peddled that Edith Kasekende was dubiously hired to offer HR consultancy services for BOWMANS which is one of the law firms BoU had retained for the Sudhir case.

THE NAKED TRUTH;

The truth as established by Grapevine is as follows; sometime in 2013, BOWMANS suffered severe staff exodus and this was at a time the South African partners were buying into the firm and coming on board to boost its global profile. Many employees were leaving and this scared the South African partners. Price Watershouse Coopers (PWC) which is an HR and audit firm in Kampala was approached and hired to help restore sanity at BOWMANS. Francis Kamulegeya who heads PWC deployed Mrs. Baliddawa to head a team of consultants to help BOWMANS come up with better strategies to ensure staff retention or else the AF Mpanga firm then based at Workers House risked losing the BOWMAN partnership. Mrs. Baliddawa did some work and set up systems and even recruited an HR Manager for BOWMANS. This was a lady called Dorothy from Shell Uganda. She then went ahead with creating strong HR systems to ensure staff retention and talent attraction for the law firm. In her report, Mrs. Baliddawa pointed out why even when they were given instant salary increment, young lawyers still insisted on quitting AF Mpanga. The lawyers still quit even after the crowded Workers House office was abandoned for more spacious DFCU Towers. After sometime, Mrs. Baliddawa quit PWC and went into retirement. She left in place a team of young consultants carrying on the work at AF Mpanga/BOWMANS and this lasted several months for which PWC experts were paid a retainer. Meanwhile Edith Kasekende was also working with PWC and on Mrs. Baliddawa’s recommendation, Francis Kamulegeya deployed her to boost the teams working for BOWMAN to establish strong HR systems. That is how she came to work for AF Mpanga in her own right as an eminent HR practitioner and not as wife of Dr. Kasekende.

BOWMANS WORKING FOR SUDHIR;

By the way, this way before the AF Mpanga/BOWMAN lawyers ever got to be involved in any work relating to Sudhir and BoU. The truth is the law firm only worked for Sudhir during the takeover of Amama Mbabazi’s National Bank of Commerce by CBL. Fred Muwema, representing the NBC owners, used Justice Steven Kavuma to get a strange court order against CBL bosses including the MD Kalan, the DMD and Sudhir himself. He accused them of contempt of court that they went on to take over NBC operations even when there was an order restraining such as issued by Justice Kavuma. There was panic at Crane Chambers and city lawyer Alex Rezida (a director in CBL) recommended that AF Mpanga would handle that Muwema case on behalf of CBL. He led the AF Mpanga lawyers to Crane Chambers late evening and instructions were issued inside Sudhir’s office. The case was worn and the AF Mpanga attorneys moved on. That is the only deal they ever had with Dr. Sudhir who sometime back accused them of conflict of interest. Muwema’s client NBC had brought contempt of court criminal proceedings against both CBL and BoU which was separately represented by MMAKS. Then much later on, the same AF Mpanga came to do some work for BoU as external lawyers after some diplomatically powerful representatives in Kampala got concerned and insisted on AF Mpanga’s inclusion on the team of lawyers to pursue the CBL saga. Justine Bagyenda, the strong Mukiga lady who was at first very uncomfortable with the AF Mpanga law firm on grounds that it had represented Kizza Besigye and other FDC honchos in high profile cases, was instructed to add AF Mpanga on the list of BoU’s legal team to pursue the CBL matter. She directed PWC to closely work with the firm in carrying out a forensic audit on CBL and this angered the Sudhir camp. That forensic report became the basis for the CBL’ sale to DFCU which took it after other bidders became disinterested in seeing the bank’s vulnerable situation (it had just UGX1.5bn against depositor obligations stretching over UGX1trn). This was long after Edith Kasekende had been working for BOWMANS as HR consultant. Even after quitting PWC, after Francis Kamulegeya communicated that PWC would be scaling down on HR practice to concentrate on its core function which is audit, Edith Kasekende maintained a consultancy relationship with BOWMANS and all this clearly had nothing to do with Dr. Kasekende or any dealings regarding CBL. On starting her own company, she still occasionally moved in to support and supervise other teams on ground working to ensure the BOWMANS HR functions worked well. Of course she would be paid by BOWMANS for her services and it’s these payments that Sudhir’s fans misconstrued for being a conduit for money to her husband Dr. Kasekende.  Because they wanted to make Dr. Kasekende look shady and dirty, they also deliberately misrepresented Edith’s bank statements to exaggerate her bank balances as if she is a billionaire whereas not. She simply kept fixing her own retirement benefits package in order to get some interest at the end of the banking year but Sudhir’s fans made it appear she was damning rich.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST CLAIMS;

But there has also been claims of conflict of interest being propagated by Dr. Sudhir’s supporters. But there is one glaring case they never speak about. Ernest & Young which OAG John Muwanga hired to do the latest audit report on BoU had for some time back accumulated an axe to grind with Bagyenda. As the powerful Director supervision, Bagyenda had denied E&Y business a few years ago and struck them off the list of audit service providers after they missed submitting very important pre-qualification documentation.  And here was the same firm being tasked or hired by Muwanga to audit BoU decisions including those that occurred at a time Bagyenda was in key authority and decision-making positions. Its hard ruling out this being an opportunity to settle an old score against Bagyenda and other heavyweights at BoU.

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NOT OVER YET: Bank Of Uganda Files Notice Of Appeal Challenging Judge Wangutusi’s Judgment, They Want Sudhir To Vomit Shs397 Billion..

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BOU Governor Tumusiime Mutebile and Sudhir Ruparelia

The Central Bank through their lawyers of Byamugisha and company Advocates have filed a notice of appeal in the court of appeal challenging High Court commercial division judge David Wangutusi‘s judgment to recover over 100 million dollars (Shs397 billion) from tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera  Investment Limited. 

On Monday, The Head of Commercial Court, David Wangutusi dismissed a case in which Bank of Uganda (BoU) Sudhir Ruparelia for allegedly fleecing his own bank (Crane Bank in receivership) of Shs397 billion in fraudulent transactions. The Central Bank was seeking to recover the Shs397bn.

Wangutusi also ordered BoU to pay Sudhir’s legal costs. In his ruling, Wangutusi observed that Crane Bank in receivership at the time of instituting the commercial suit against the businessman and his Meera Investments Company, was none existent, hence never had powers to sue.

Wangutusi added that Bank of Uganda lacked legal basis to sue Sudhir for allegedly transferring sums money from the internal accounts of the defunct Crane Bank which were not mapped on the financial institution’s balance sheet.  BOU claims that the learned judge errored when he dismissed their suit because there was credible evidence that Sudhir withdrew 80,000,000 dollars from Crane Bank as payments to persons, companies and entities for Sudhir’s benefits. 

 The central bank further claims that Sudhir withdraw Us9.27m through Technology Associates which has no contract with Crane Bank or Meera investments. The central bank wants the three justices of the court of appeal to declare that Wangutusi errored in facts and law to dismisses their suit against the city tycoon. The bank claims that Sudhir mismanages the tax payer’s money worth shs400bn which was withdrawn from the treasury to save Crane Bank. 

Tycoon Sudhir celebrated the dismissal of the BOU suit and revealed to journalists that he has defeated BOU mafias who stole his bank.

By Sengooba Alirabaki

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OPINION: Free Trade For African Countries: Continental Block Will Spur Trade And Develop Africa

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In his book, “Sowing The Mustard Seed”, Second Edition, President Museveni articulates the case for Pan-Africanism with a slant, in part, to business dividends. “The milk production of Uganda is now 2 billion litres, up from 200 million litres in 1986. Uganda, however, currently, consumes only 800 million litres per annum”. He adds that; “What will happen to the rest then? This is true of bananas, goats, cattle, fruits and other products? Our second layer of saviours are the East Africans, the South Sudanese, the Congolese and other regional partners”.

The President has been, and remains a strong advocate of regional integration in Africa. Now, further to the likes of EAC and COMESA, the big one is here. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) endorsed by African Union (AU) Member States in Kigali, in March 2018, takes effect next year. This, after the ratification of the operational aspects of AfCFTA, at an AU extra-ordinary Summit in Niamey, Niger on 7th July 2019 – The New Vision, 20th July 2019.

The essence of Niamey pact is that Africa’s Free Trade Area will be operational effective July 2020. In Niamey, the necessary instruments were signed by the required minimum 22 AU Member States, including Uganda. It is a major break-through for business across the continent. With 55 Member countries, Africa’s Free Trade Area will dwarf ALL trading blocks, including the EU, in terms of membership. 

AfCFTA is bringing together a combined market of 1.2 billion people and economies with an aggregate GDP of USD 2.5 trillion. It is a huge market under which countries in Africa, will trade with each other, minus tariff barriers. AfCFTA will spur industrialization, grow economies, create jobs, strengthen indigenous capabilities and ease Africa’s vulnerability to external trading shocks.

For Uganda, niche items include fresh, organic grain foodstuffs, which have ready market in countries like Congo, Angola, Senegal, Namibia and the Saharan, North African Countries. Our other niche items include milk, fruits, fish, beef and household consumer items. Uganda is also progressively building capacity in oil and gas and services like tourism and ICT innovations, from which we stand to reap, among others. 

Intra-Africa business will slash Africa’s trade deficit, considering the continent imports food items alone, worth USD 60 billion annually. Relatedly, under the current skewed trade regime, intra-Africa business is at 16% while that with Europe, for instance, is at 65%.

Therefore, the AfCFTA will unlock Africa’s massive economic potential, right from the short term. Indeed, intra-African trade is now projected to rise to 60% by 2022. Retaining the USD 60 billion Africa is “donating” to Europe in annual food imports, will greatly boost the continent socio-economically.

In a riveting address, at a Nelson Mandela Memorial Lecture at Makerere University on 31st August 2017, President Museveni submitted that; “Africa is a huge continent with a land area of 11.7 million square miles, which makes it 12 times bigger than India, 4 times bigger than USA and China each and more than 2 times the size of Russia. We are somewhat working on economic integration through the Regional Economic Communities; although we should be more religious and focused on this issue”. 

Credit to him and other regional leaders for bringing AfCTFA to life. We should, therefore, position Uganda tap into this huge continental market. Priority considerations include accelerating industrialisation, improving product/service value chains, fast-tracking oil, gas, energy and minerals’ development. Others are expanding transport and ICT infrastructure, enhancing agricultural production and aligning our fiscal policies, as may be applicable.

Moses Watasa

Commissioner, Communication and Information Dissemination

MINISTRY OF ICT & NATIONAL GUIDANCE

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Battle For Supremacy At Vision Group As Bukedde News Editor Fires His Deputy’s ‘Diehard’ Reporters

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All is not well at Robert Kabushenga’s Vision Group premises especially Bukedde Newspaper newsroom.

According to multiple sources from the industrial area based printing and publishing house, the war is between Bukedde news editor Ssalongo Richard Kayira and his deputy Semei Wesaali.

Sources told the Grapevine that the silent war erupted when Kayira, the head of the news room published an internal memo with a list of news reporters fired from Bukedde newspaper.  According to sources, Kayira also ordered the security at the gate not to allow the journalists on the list to enter the company premises.

“The list was published but they did not inform us that we were going to be fired,” one of the journalists on the list complained.

The affected journalists petitioned their boss Godfrey Kulubya the head of all the local newspapers at Vision Group.  In their petition, the over 50 reporters told Kulubya that the list is discriminative.

‘The list targeted some individuals because they are diehards to editor Semei Wesaali. Kayira thinks that they are helping him take his position,” one of the reporters who petitioned Kulubya stated. They further explained to Kulubya that there are names of people which were left out yet they are poor performers when compared to some of the people on the list, they even cited some names.

Kulubya was told that most of the journalists left out were working under Kayira in his new DGF project.

On Monday this week, Kulubya called an emergency meeting in Bukedde new room and asked for a written explanation from Kayira why he fired staff without his knowledge or that of the Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga.  Kulubya denounced the list and asked the journalists in the meeting to tell their friends who were fired to come back and work with immediate effect.

“For your information the competition is high so you cannot start firing staff, if it is necessary, let us follow the necessary procedures,” Kulubya was quoted telling the newsroom.

Kulubya further told the meeting that they have plans of laying off a number of reporters so that they can remain with a few competitive ones.

Sources told this website that Vision group bosses are trying to set up new rules where journalists multi task for the various platforms.

According to the new plan, a journalist, when assigned to cover a story, is supposed to file it for New Vision newspaper, Bukedde newspaper, Bukedde radio and Bukedde TV.

When the news about the new plan fell in the ears of reporters, some panicked and bought video cameras and recorders to quickly adapt to the new rules.

When the Grapevine talked to some of the reporters who were not on the list, they disclosed that the journalists who were fired are lazy and don’t want to work. They are just using Bukedde newspaper as an address to extort money from the public.  

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