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DFCU retains interest in former Crane Bank properties – BoU

FILE PHOTO:  Dfcu bank vacates Meera Investments Limited buildings.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dfcu bank remains the owner of the leasehold of the former Crane bank buildings it vacated, Bank of Uganda has said. The buildings, formerly hosting Crane bank branches but now being claimed by Meera Investments Limited, were taken over by Dfcu when it bought Crane bank in 2017.

At the weekend, Dfcu bank vacated most of the buildings and relocated its branches to other premises. The question has been who takes over these buildings now. In an e-mail, Kelvin Kiziito, the BoU deputy communications director, said “Dfcu bank purchased the leasehold interest in the properties, and still retains the said interest, even after physically vacating them.”

He added that “The return of the leasehold interest therein is governed by the provisions in the Purchase of Assets & Assumptions of Liabilities (P&A) agreement between Bank of Uganda and Dfcu bank.”

In a notice, Dfcu publishes 16 branches it has vacated, including the main branch at Kampala road. Others include Hoima branch, Arua branch, Ibanda branch, Ntinda, Mbarara, and Kikuubo, and Kireka branches. In total, the bank took over 48 properties from Crane bank.

A notice at its Kampala road branch told customers it would use new premises on Plot 40 Kampala road effective Monday 3 February 2020. Kelvin said for any “payments for occupied or vacated properties, the agreements signed between BoU and Dfcu will prevail.”

The properties formerly occupied by the defunct Crane bank are a subject of court battle at the Land division of the High court with Meera investments suing Dfcu bank, together with the commissioner Land registration, seeking to reclaim leasehold titles and developments for 48 banking halls taken over by dfcu.

Meera Investments argues in court documents that it is the true owner of the titles of the properties and not Crane bank. The case took a new twist last November with Dfcu switching lawyers from Sebalu & Lule Advocates that had been representing it to Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa & Co. Advocates.

In vacating the properties Dfcu could be preparing for what could come out of the ruling on the ownership of the properties so as not to be caught off-guard.

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