BoU reshuffles: why IGG’s “directive” to Mutebile is a misdirective

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Kagenyi Lukka

The story of the reshuffles at BOU that the governor made on 7 March 2018 is now a familiar subject.

Like any other Chief executive, Prof Tumusiime Mutebile, acting on behalf of board  replaced among others, former  Director of commercial Bank’s supervision, Justine Bagyenda with Dr Tumubwine Twinemanzi.

This was the most eye-catching especially that her role in the extinction of crane bank is still a subject of debate.

Following these changes at the institution, the IGG, Ms Irene Mulyagonja wrote a letter to the governor BOU and the board, made a flippant mis-directive.

In this brazen letter, Ms Mulyagonja purportedly stops the BOU board of directors from ratifying the actions decisions taken by the governor in relation to staff appointments and reshuffles…. “until such time as the investigation by the inspectorate has been concluded or until this office directs otherwise,” reads part of the IGG’s letter.

I want to viciously argue that Ms Mulyagonja’s impudent directive is actually, a misdirection to the governor and the board.

Below is why I think so!

BOU is an independent institution. BOU among other activities carries out macroeconomic stability.

To do this, the central bank must be independent from influence by any person/s or authority.

This is envisaged in Article 162(2) of the constitution that states, “In performing of its functions, the bank of Uganda shall conform to this construction but shall not be subject to direction or control by any person or authority”.

The IGG instead meanders by trying to import new provisions in the constitution by doubting if BOU acts in good faith.

The article here in cited, is unambiguous and unequivocally clear.

An outsider including the IGG cannot interfere with decisions of the Bank of Uganda.

Further still this impugned directive if taken, will have negative effects on the operations of the institution.

Secondly in objection, Ms Mulyagonja’s impudent directive ignores previous court decisions.

Decisions taken by court, if not challenged and overturned, become valid reference points.

Former IGG and the current, Ms Mulyagonja have previously made impugned directives to several institutions that don’t enjoy even an atom of autonomy like that which is accorded to BOU. The IGG’s claim to use discretionary powers has been repudiated by previous court rulings.

For instance, In the Livercot Impex Limited & Another vs Attorney General MC 173 of 2010, the IGG’s directives to the Uganda Land commission (ULC) were found to be loose.

Moreover, ULC doesn’t enjoy autonomy like BOU’s.

Justice Mwangusya observed “I don’t think that whatever powers the IGG derives under the constitution he had power to reverse a decision of the Uganda Land Commission which is also established under article 237 of the constitution and derives power from article 239 of the constitution. You don’t think that the IGG can reverse the decisions of the commissioner land registration who derives her authority from the Registration of Titles Act.”

Here, the IGG had directed the minister to caution the chairman, Secretary, members of ULC and the Acting commissioner Land registration on the conduct of their offices. The judge overruled the powers of the IGG to make such directives.

I hope Ms Mulyagonja has read and is fully aware of that decision.

As if the above case isn’t sufficient, Justice Mulyagonja attempted in 2013 to interfere with decisions of Uganda Development Bank (UDB). I had written about this in my previous article titled, “IGG has no power to cancel BOU reshuffles”.

Ms Mulyagonja had made directives to the UDB board purporting to stop officers from taking up their offices, reversed the decisions of the MD of UDB to remove officers who had been implicated in corruption.

The IGG had allegedly done this in favour of employees that petitioned office riding on the “assumed powers” under the IG act.

In the end, Justice Musota found not even atom of conviction in Ms Mulyagonja’s unnecessary intervention!

The learned judge agreed with the applicants; Patricia Ojangole and four others  that the IGG doesn’t have powers mandate to direct the board of directors on how they should exercise their discretionary powers.

The judge also observed that the IGG’s directives had threatened the functionality of UDB.

He also emphasized among others the supremacy of the board to control staff members who the IGG purported to protect.

Finally, Justice Musota quashed away Ms Mulyagonja’s directives and restrained her from making any further orders or directives on the premise of impugned investigations.

Ms Mulyagonja is already biased. In her March 6th letter, Ms Mulyagonja presumes that BOU was acting in bad faith as a basis for her contemptible directives yet reputational integrity is a pillar for robust financial system.

Her directive undermines BOU’s reputation and more so, an indicator that she has already sided with petitioners.

What more can Ms Mulyagonja offer?

Her actions remind me of an old adage, ‘The more a monkey climbs the tree, the more it exposes its private parts’.

Based on the above, I find her purported directive to be a complete misdirection to the Central bank which should be ignored.

Adhering to it will essentially, erode BOU’s independence in decision making, it will also result into loss of public confidence in the bank’s ability to organise itself for better macroeconomic stabilisation mechanisms.

Kagenyi Lukka is s current affairs analyst and an aspiring MP,Ikiiki constituency in Budaka.

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