Crane Bank, a defunct bank owned by Ugandan businessman Sudhir Ruparelia on Monday urged the Court of Appeal in London to restore its $211 Million [About 800Bn UGX] lawsuit against DFCU Bank, its Executives, and financiers including one based in the UK, over an allegedly fraudulent takeover of its assets.
In a consistent show of how seriously he is taking the fight for his bank which has been characterized by kneck-to-kneck litigation since 2016 when the Bank of Uganda placed Crane Bank under “Statutory management”, Billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia has hired one of the world’s most expensive Constitutional Lawyers Lord David Pannick KC to argue the Bank’s request which centers on the question of whether English Courts can adjudicate actions of sovereign governments like Uganda.
Pannick who has represented former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the so-called Partygate Scandal and has been instructed by Manchester City to defend against Premier League sanctions argued before the Court of Appeal that the English Courts have the authority to hear the case.
He contended that the involvement of Ugandan state officials particularly from the Bank of Uganda (the Central Bank) in the takeover of Crane Bank by DFCU doesn’t mean the case could not be resolved in England.
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Late last year Crane Bank’s suit was dismissed in the London High Court based on a doctrine known as the “foreign acts of State” doctrine which strips English Courts of the Jurisdiction to hear cases involving the validity (or lack of it) of actions of foreign governments.
” The case is concerned with a private law agreement to sell assets and liabilities. It is an act which by its nature could be carried out by a private citizen. It’s very important to note that a course of conduct may begin by constituting a sovereign act but subsequently involve private acts,”Lord David Pannick said, according to Law360.
” It is also not the case that it is a sovereign act because the authority of the defendant [DFCU] to use the property is a consequence of a sovereign act of the state.”
Crane Bank claims that DFCU bought its assets and liabilities for far less than the market price by colluding with Bank of Uganda officials.
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