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Former Billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia Loses Lucrative Forex Bureaus In Uganda

    The Central Bank of Uganda has reportedly shut down four lucrative Bureaux de change owned by Ugandan businessman former billionaire Sudhir Ruparelia.

    According to a report by Uganda's Independent newspaper, the Bank of Uganda issued a statement saying that the Ruparelia Group made no effort to renew the Forex bureau licenses of Crane Forex Bureau after they expired on December 31 last year. The statement read: "The Forex bureaus are therefore not permitted to transact any business as prescribed under the Foreign Exchange Act 2004." In the statement, the Bank of Uganda's Director of Commercial Banking Benedict Sekabira said that the fitness and probity of the Crane Forex Bureau's proprietors, management and the board are some of the things to be considered before a renewal is issued.

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 11: President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda meets Prime Minister Theresa May during the London Conference on Somalia at Lancaster House on May 11, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Hannah McKay - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

    Two of the Forex bureaus are located along the ever-busy Kampala Road in Kampala's Central Business District where the Ruparelia Group has its headquarters. When this writer visited Sudhir Ruparelia for an interview in 2012, the Ugandan businessman claimed the two Forex bureaus on this particular street made a combined profit of more than $45,000 daily.

    Sudhir Ruparelia has been on a losing streak recently. Once Uganda's richest man and a billionaire, Ruparelia, 59, is believed to have fallen out of favor with the country's President Yoweri Museveni and this has taken a toll on his businesses. Late last year the Central Bank of Uganda announced that it had taken over management of Crane Bank on the grounds that it had capital adequacy problems which posed a systemic risk to the country's financial system. Ruparelia insisted at the time that the bank was still financially strong. Before then, the Ugandan government, once Crane Bank's leading customer, had pulled out its various accounts with the bank.

    Sudhir Ruparelia is the founder of Ruparelia Group, one of Uganda's largest conglomerates. The company owns a string of hotels and country clubs and more than 200 commercial properties. FORBES Magazine has in the past ranked him as Uganda's first billionaire. He made his early fortune selling beer and operating a string of currency exchange booths in Kampala.

    Ruparelia did not respond to a text message requesting for a comment as at the time of writing this post.

    Gwokto La'Kitgum
    "Even a small dog can piss on a tall building" Jim Hightower

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