Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials have failed to explain the payment of US $ 251,045 approximately Shillings 937.7 billion to MMAKs advocates for their financial advisory services on the closure of Crane Bank.
On Wednesday, the former Central Bank Executive Director in charge of Supervision Justine Bagyenda was accused of usurping the powers of the Legal Department, in her ploy to sell off Crane Bank Limited.
Bank of Uganda officials were again appearing before the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises [COSASE] chaired by Hon. Abdu Katuntu.
Bagyenda : “……. I don’t recall the author of the terms of reference to the Bank of Uganda. I plead for fairness from the Committee.”
Katuntu :”…. I find it strange that Bank of Uganda has a fully-fledged legal department, and I decide to ask other law firms to draft the terms of reference for the Bank.”
The committee is probing the central bank on alleged illegal decisions characterised by collusion and corruption, as cited by a forensic audit report into the closure of seven commercial banks, including Crane Bank, Teefe Bank, Green Land Bank and National Bank of Commerce among others.
Hon Beatrice Anywar was the first to ask: “As a committee we need to understand and also investigate on some of the documents which disappeared from Bank of Uganda, which sometime back we saw Madam Justine Bagyenda picking some documents from the Bank.”
Bagyenda: “The suit cases and the boxes contained my personal documents, academic documents which I did an MBA, documents of consultancy with the International Monitory Fund among other documents.” Katuntu: “We need to know from Justine Bagyenda why and what documents were taken from the Bank which according to the received CCTV footage were in the suit cases and boxes.
Bagyenda:“…. I insist that it’s only proper that I be availed with footage the committee is using.”
Absence of minutes
Bank of Uganda officials Tuesday confirmed absence of minutes, reports and agendas of meetings that were held with the legal officers.
Madam Kasule, the bank counsel claims it resulted from the numerous frequent meetings that were held in various places.
Beatrice Anywar: Is it a practice of Bank of Uganda (BOU) not to have minutes as submitted by the Legal counsel? BOU official: I don’t think it is a practice any institution to have meetings without minutes thus it is not our practice.
Hon Anwyar to Bagyenda: Is it the practice of BoU not to have minutes in their meetings as submitted by the legal counsel?
Bagyenda: I do not think it is the practice of any institution to have meetings without minutes.
BoU legal counsel, Margaret Kasule: Most of the legal opinions were given during meetings and then agreement on what should be done. It is already admitted by the central bank that no minutes were kept but decisions were implemented.
Katuntu: How do you convince us that there was legal advice when we do not see it and you paid legal fee for work we cannot see?
Kasule: There were attempts to have minutes but the meetings were so frequent, people would walk out of one into another.
Bugweri County MP Katuntu on Tuesday said he is the substantive leader of Cosase until his successor is announced by the Speaker.
The MP said he was clearing the air following widespread media reports that his tenure had come to an end and that he was seeking an extension to complete the probe.
“As chairperson of this committee and deputy chairperson, we are not dying to be in these positions. We can only stay in these positions in accordance with the rules of procedure of Parliament. Nobody is stuck in an office against rules of procedure,” he said.
The lawmaker emphasized that once the rules call upon them to quit, they will leave.
“As the chair and as the deputy, we are not dying to be in this position. We can only stay according to the rules of procedure of Parliament. Once they tell us to leave, we shall leave,” Katuntu said.