Dfcu Bank has warned Mr Sudhir Ruparelia’s son, Rajiv to stop propagating fake news about the bank or risk legal action.
In a notice written last Friday, the bank is also demanding for a public apology from Mr Rajiv Ruparelia, a major figure in the Ruparelia Group business empire, for allegedly sponsoring and paying for a sustained social media and online websites attack against dfcu and its senior managers with the view of destabilising the bank.
“You have variously paid operators of online new sites and blogs (sic) to spread malicious falsehoods about our client and its senior management, all to create an impression that our client is in a precarious situation and an ownership and management crisis whereas this is not the case,” the notice written by the bank’s lawyers, Kalenge, Bwanika, Ssawa and Company Advocates and seen by Daily Monitor, reads in part.
The notice is also copied to police CID director, Grace Akullo, Internal Security Organisation boss, Col Frank Kaka, Internal Affairs Minister, JJ Odongo and Security Minister Gen Elly Tumwine.
Mr William Sekabembe, the dfcu Bank chief of business and executive director, at the weekend confirmed the bank had, through its lawyers, written to Mr Rajiv, among others warning him against proliferating falsehoods.
Dfcu, which is Uganda’s second largest bank, he said, remains a stable bank contrary to what is being published by social media, bloggers and online publishers.
The notice lists among others six websites including Spy Reports, Eagle Online, kyamutetera.com, Crime24, The Ugandan and PML Daily as the main conduits through which Mr Rajiv has been spreading the false propaganda with the view of causing a run on the bank.
A run on the bank refers to a situation where customers withdraw their deposits en-mass, which mightlead to the collapse of such as bank.
Others also listed and warned are bloggers including Raymond Wamala, Muhereza Kyamutetera, [Richard] Wanambwa, Jacob Seaman [Odongo], Stephen Muneza Kagabo, Maurice Muhwezi and a one Javira.
Dfcu has since the takeover of the Sudhir Ruparelia owned Crane Bank fought off fake news, key among which online publishers in June or there about, claimed the bank was facing a serious liquidity crisis as well as the exit of several senior managers thus suggesting a bank in a crisis.
The bank has also been accused of buying Crane Bank at the cheap, which some have alleged could have been a collusion between dfcu and Bank of Uganda, although the two deny.
However, most of the claims, dfcu told Daily Monitor in July, are sponsored by former Crane Bank directors and its associates.
In January last year, dfcu took over Crane Bank assets and some liabilities in a deal that the Central Bank later put at Shs200b.
The Central Bank had in October 2016 taken over Crane Bank, citing significant undercapitalised as the main reason. In an interview at the weekend, Mr Rajiv told Daily Monitor he was not part of the case (sic), warning Daily Monitor to be “very careful of what you writing”.
“I don’t have any clue of what they [dfcu] are talking about. If you put me in the spotlight, I might also take [Daily] Monitor to court,” he said.
The bank has also asked Mr Rajiv to “immediately cease and desist from the unlawful and harmful activities, give our client a written undertaking that you will not engage in such unlawful conduct in the future and publish an apology for having engaged in this nefarious and malicious campaign”.
“Our client shall have no option but to initiate a criminal complaint against you as well as to commence civil proceedings against you. You stand duly warned,” the October 5 notice reads in part.
Gen Tumwine at the weekend confirmed receipt of the notice, saying they were investigating to ascertain the credibility of dfcu’s allegations against Mr Rajiv.
The bank accuses Mr Rajiv of personally circulating published false news against dfcu through his personal mobile phone in order to incite the public.
“You have done this repeatedly and to a very large number or recipients with a view to drive traffic to the false stories that you had paid for and in the hope that links would go viral and cause maximum damage to the reputation of dfcu.”
Efforts to get a comment from Col Kaka, Ms Akullo and JJ Odongo were not successful as their known phone number were either out of reach or went unanswered by press time.