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 sources who identity has been kept confidential is as follows;
Sometime in 2013, BOWMAN’S 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.