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UK Court rules Crane Bank lawsuit against Dfcu bank must be heard on merits

Crane Bank was taken over by dfcu Bank before the former went to court to appeal against the decision. PHOTO/FILE

London, (UK): The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom has ruled that the lawsuit filed in London by Crane Bank Limited against Dfcu Bank and its shareholders should be heard on its merits.

Dfcu Bank and its shareholders had asked the UK court to find that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit that arose from its purchase and takeover of Crane Bank. They had appealed to the Supreme Court after the UK’s Court of Appeal rejected the argument.

In a unanimous ruling, three justices; David Lloyd Jones, George Andrew Midsomer Leggatt, and Andrew Stephen Burrows dismissed Dfcu bank’s appeal against the lower court’s decision of July 26, 2023.

“After consideration of the applications filed on behalf of the appellants seeking permission to appeal, the order made by the Court of Appeal on 26th July 2023 and of the notices of objection filed by the respondents, permission to appeal be refused because the applications do not raise an arguable point of law which the court should consider at this time,” the Supreme Court ruled.

Dfcu Bank has also been ordered to pay costs of the applications.

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The implication of the decision is that the UK High Court can now hear the original case in which Crane Bank alleges fraudulent actions and a conspiracy in the acquisition of its assets from Bank of Uganda.

Crane Bank Limited was, until 2016, one of Uganda’s largest commercial banks. However, the Central Bank, in exercise of its statutory and regulatory powers, took over its management, closed it and sold off some of its assets and liabilities to Dfcu Bank. BoU said that Crane Bank was undercapitalised and posed a huge risk to its depositors.

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After several lawsuits against the Central Bank in Ugandan courts, the long-running legal dispute is now headed for a new chapter, this time in London courts, targeting Dfcu directors and major shareholders.

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