Bank of Uganda has closed four forex bureaus belonging to businessman Sudhir Ruparrellia.
In a notice published in the media, Central Bank Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said the licenses for Crane Forex Bureau Ltd located at Speke Hotel on Nile Avenue, Crane Forex Bureau Ltd on Plot 20 Kampala Road, Karibu Forex Bureau at Mukwano Arcade on Namirembe Road and Redfox Forex Bureau De Change Ltd on plot 54 Kampala Road, “are not permitted to transact any business prescribed under the Foreign Exchange Act 2004.”
Mr Mutebile said the licenses for the bureaus had expired and warned that “Whoever deals with these forex bureaus, their proprietors or directors in relation to foreign exchange or money remittance business does so at his or her own risk.”
The licenses expired in December last year, the Central Bank said.
While the expiry of a business license may be normal, observers note that the ownership of the affected bureaus sets them apart.
They all belong to the Ruparrellia Group of Companies owned by troubled businessman Ruparrellia, whose Crane Bank was taken over by the Central Bank last year before it sold it to DFCU Bank.
Sources at Central Bank told The EastAfrican that applications for renewal were rejected because of the relationship between the bureaus’ owners and Crane Bank.
To run a financial institution one has to be a fit and proper person in the definition of the Financial Institutions Act, the directors of these bureaus, for their part in the collapse of Crane Bank cannot be considered fit and proper persons to run these bureaus which are also financial institutions, the Central Bank source who preferred to speak off the record told The EastAfrican.