Amama Mbabazi in parliament amid ministerial post rumours

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Amama Mbabazi at parliament to face COSASE over the closure of National bank of Commerce

Former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on Monday morning arrived at Parliament ahead of his interface with the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).

The committee which is probing the closure of five defunct commercial banks summoned Mbabazi about the closure of National Bank of Commerce [NBC] where he was a shareholder.

NBC was formed in 1991 and was majorly owned by businessman Amos Nzeyi, former premier Amama Mbabazi and current Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

A small percentage of the shares were owned by former Finance minister Dr Ezra Suruma, Gen Jim Muhwezi and retired Supreme Court judge George Wilson Kanyeihamba, among others.

NBC suffered a serious setback when Bank of Uganda summarily and illegally closed it on 27th September 2012.

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The manner in which it was closed was in total violation of the law, it was neither transparent nor fair.

In a public notice issued by deputy BoU Governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende, it was claimed that the takeover, winding up and immediate sale of NBC to Crane Bank was done to protect the interest of depositors and maintain the stability of the financial sector.

This was far from the truth. The bank employed over 300 Ugandans, supported many businesses operated by both women and youth groups and also contributed more than 10 billion shillings in direct taxes between 2000 and 2002, according to Mathew Rukikaire, one of the former owners of National Bank of Commerce.

Shareholders summoned

At the close of last month, Cosase summoned former shareholders of the defunct banks to testify about the circumstances that led to the closure of their banks.

The committee will has started with former shareholders of National Bank of Commerce (NBC), then will interface with those of Teefe Bank together with Nile River Acquisition Company (NRAC).

The former shareholders of NBC, who are expected to be cross-examined by the committee, will include Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, Mbabazi, and businessman Amos Nzeyi.

MPs will then meet former shareholders of International Credit Bank (ICB), Cooperative Bank, Crane Bank Ltd and dfcu -the bank which took over the assets and liabilities of both Global Trust Bank (GTB) and Crane Bank.

The committee will also hold meetings with the BoU Board of Directors and technocrats from the Finance ministry.

Ministerial post rumours

Mbabazi’s appearance in parliament comes amid unverified rumours claiming he will be appointed to the position of Foreign Affairs minister.

The position is currently occupied by Sam Kutesa who is battling a bribery scandal involving up to Shs1.bn he received while still serving as the President of United Nations General Assembly.

The report which Mbabazi has not confirmed or denied was made by Big Eye, a local entertainment website.

“Amama Mbabazi to be appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Big Eye posted.

A source told edge.ug that Mbabazi “who could do a very good job” is needed to make up for Uganda’s fading and collapsing diplomatic front.

Apparently, Uganda failed to enter Congo to flush out rebel groups especially Allied Democratic Forces [ADF] because Kutesa failed to argue Uganda’s case at the United Nations [UN].

The other claim is that Mbabazi is needed to counter Rwanda’s rising diplomacy with President Paul Kagame both as African Union Chairperson and East African Community [EAC] Chairperson.

As for a former Prime Minister and NRM Secretary General who even dared contest against President Museveni in 2016 elections getting a ministerial post, the source said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa could have intervened.

Ramaphosa, a close friend of President Museveni, is battling it out with Kagame over Rwandan dissident Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa.

South Africa is soon issuing arrest warrants for suspects in the assassination of former Rwanda intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya to counter an arrest warrant Rwanda issued for Nyamwasa.

edge.ug could not verify the claims that Mbabazi will be appointed to a ministerial post or whether he would accept such an appointment.

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