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Justice Prevails: Why Court Demands DFCU To Hand Back Sudhir’s Properties, Pay UGX2.4 Billion In Landmark Ruling

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By Gad Masereka

Justice Tadeo Asiimwe, in a landmark ruling on October 24, declared the invalidity of leases pertaining to 48 properties owned by the now-defunct Crane Bank Limited, ordering DFCU Bank to vacate these premises. The court further imposed a UGX2.4 billion penalty on DFCU Bank, along with an 8% annual interest for trespassing on Crane Bank’s properties.

In addition to the damages, Justice Asiimwe directed the Commissioner of Land Registration to promptly annul 48 leases, lease variations, and extensions recorded as encumbrances on the mailo and freehold titles of Crane Bank. The second defendant, the Commissioner of Land Registration, received an order to cancel DFCU Bank’s registration as the proprietor of the leasehold interests in all the contested properties.

A permanent injunction was also issued, restraining DFCU, its agents, and staff from trespassing on any of Crane Bank’s properties. The court affirmed the plaintiff, Meera Investment Limited, as the registered proprietor of the freehold/mailo interests in the properties and granted them the right to vacant possession within three months from the judgment date.

With Crane Bank being defunct, the court mandated DFCU to cover the legal costs of the suit, payable to Meera Investment Limited, the parent company of Crane Bank Limited. The court’s declaration solidified Meera Investment Limited’s ownership of the freehold/mailo interests in the properties.

DFCU Bank has been given a three-month deadline to vacate the premises in various towns, including Kampala, Kasese, Masaka, Samia Bugwe, Busia, Masindi, Gulu, Malaba, Entebbe, Kabale, Hoima, Soroti, Mukono, Ibanda, Arua, Fort Portal, among others. The legal battle traces back to the closure of Crane Bank Limited in October 2016 by the central bank, claiming insolvency and subsequent asset sale to DFCU Bank. After four years of deliberation, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sudhir, instructing BoU to cover the costs.

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