Former Crane Bank employees want DFCU MD’s wealth investigated

Over 400 former employees of the defunct Crane Bank Limited have petitioned the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to investigate the source of Juma Kisaame’s source of income.

In an October 24 letter written through their lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde of the Centre for Legal Aid, the petitioners want the FIA to investigate how Kisaame came to post $40m on his dollar account in Bank of Africa.

Kisaame is the managing director of DFCU Bank, the financial entity that took over Crane Bank at the time of its liquidation by the Bank of Uganda last year.

Kisaame’s leaked financial statements showed that he has a balance of forty million US dollars ($40m) on his Account No. 01087990270 held in Bank of Africa Uganda Limited.

Bank of Africa did not dispute the amount in a press statement it issued after the leakage, but instead blamed some of its staff for causing the leak.

It is on the basis of that that former Crane Bank employees want Kisaame’s wealth investigated.

“Having reviewed the aforesaid information, our clients have reason to believe that Mr. Juma Kisaame could have engaged in illegal activities to unjustly influence and benefit from dfcu Bank’s purchase takeover of Crane Bank Ltd which resulted into unlawful termination of their employment with little or no compensation for the affected workers,” Ssemakadde wrote.

Crane Chambers where former Crane Bank head offices were housed.

He stated that the transactions on the Kisaame’s account are inconsistent with his legitimate earnings as a bank employee.

“The withdrawals on the account are complex, highly unusual and ostensibly of no apparent or visible economic purpose. For instance, in the first week of March 2016, Mr. Kisaame allegedly withdrew $ 500,000 on Tuesday, $ 400,000 on Wednesday and $ 300,000 on Saturday. On Monday, 27 June, 2016, he allegedly withdrew a total sum of $ 3,700,000 in two installments of $ 1,200,000 and $ 2,500,000 respectively,” Ssemakadde’s letter reads.

“The suspicious transactions occurred shortly before dfcu Bank’s controversial takeover of Crane Bank Limited and unlawful termination of our clients,” he further wrote.

He asked the FIA to inspect all bank accounts held by or in trust for Kisaame and other executives of dfcu Bank, and to cause an investigation into whether the said executives or their personal bankers committed any money laundering offences in the takeover of Crane Bank Ltd.

Relatedly, the former Crane Bank employees are also threatening a legal suit against Bank of Uganda and dfcu Bank seeking general and punitive damages arising from alleged unlawful termination of their respective contracts of service after dfcu Bank’s takeover of Crane Bak Ltd.

They claim that they were transferred to DFCU Bank Ltd by the Bank of Uganda, and for breach of statutory duty, breach of the duty to act fairly, breach of trust, negligence, misrepresentation, deceit, discrimination and other breaches of constitutional rights and duties.