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Lands Ministry Cancels Titles: dfcu Bank Ordered to Return Properties to Meera Investments

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In the wake of a High Court ruling on October 24, 2023, that declared dfcu Bank’s illegal transfer of 48 properties belonging to Meera Investments, the Lands Ministry has nullified all corresponding land titles. These properties were acquired by dfcu Bank after it took over Crane Bank from tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia. Following the ruling, dfcu Bank is instructed to surrender the titles originally provided by the Bank of Uganda (BOU).

In January 2017, dfcu Bank acquired Crane Bank’s assets for 200 billion shillings, citing the latter’s undercapitalization as declared by the regulator, BOU. Subsequently, dfcu took possession of buildings assumed to be owned by Crane Bank Limited (CBL). However, it was later revealed that CBL was leasing these properties from Meera Investments, a real estate development firm.

The Commissioner of Lands, in a letter dated November 8, directed dfcu to return the titles within seven days for rectification, facilitating their eventual return to the rightful owner, Meera Investments.

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Additionally, in a ruling issued last month, High Court- Land Division Justice Tadeo Asiimwe ordered dfcu Bank to compensate Meera Investments with Shs2.4 billion in damages, along with 8% interest per year, for trespassing on the property.

The Lands Commissioner emphasized the self-executing nature of the court orders, prompting the cancellation of leases on titles registered in the name of Meera Investments and the removal of entries identifying dfcu Bank as the proprietor of the 48 properties.

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The letter from the Lands Commissioner to dfcu Bank stated, “The purpose hereof is therefore to request that, since the leasehold titles have been cancelled thereby rendering the 48 duplicate certificates of title in your possession legally inconsequential, the same should be returned to this office to avoid any possible misuse thereof. Kindly do so within Seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.”

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