Bank of Uganda has halted operations of four forex bureaus owned by businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.
The forex bureaus, including Crane Forex Bureau Limited, one of the oldest in Kampala, were ruled out of business after their application for new licenses was denied on grounds of lack of ‘fitness and probity’.
Others are Crane Forex Bureau (Kampala Road) Limited, Karibu Forex Bureau Limited and Redfox Bureau De Change Limited.
Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile yesterday said licenses issued to the affected bureaus expired on December 31, 2016 and were not renewed.
“The above named Forex Bureaus are not permitted to transact any business prescribed under the Foreign Exchange Act 2004. The public is 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,” Mr Mutebile said.
Mr Benedict Sekabira, director commercial banking also said the bureaus did not meet the requirements for relicensing.
“As we consider renewal for license, we take into account so many things, among them is fitness and probity of the people that are in those forex bureaus, including the management and shareholders. If they don’t meet that standard, we always have an option not to renew their licenses,” he said.
Part of the fitness and probity test of the bank requires that the directors of the forex bureaus in question are not under any investigation or have not prevailed over a bank that was sent into receivership.
When contacted, the bureaus’ current director, Mr Ruparelia, who was also the director of Crane Bank which was sold to DFCU last year said: “Right now I have no comment. But I am going to consult.”
However the four forex bureaus according to the Uganda Forex Bureau and Money Remittance Association, Mr Philip Katamba had renewed their membership last year.
“We also received the news from the newspapers but we haven’t received any official information from the regulator and as far as the association is concern, we did our part of renewing their membership,” Mr Katamba said.
This is the second blow to Mr Ruparelia’s businesses in just six months.
©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor