We’re sorry for ashaming Bank of Uganda- Kasekende

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Dr Louis Kasekende

Economist Louis A. Kasekende also Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, has Saturday apologised to the public for shaming the country’s central bank.

Kasekende who began his five-year term in this position on 18 January 2010, marks the second time that he is appointed to this office, having served in the same capacity from 1999 until 2002.

“We are very sorry for ashaming Bank of Uganda like this,” he posted on his Facebook account Saturday.

He was referring to a Daily Monitor story about the ongoing investigation of BoU officials by the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House for allegedly ferrying in unauthorised cargo using a government plane.

The said cargo belonged to UN, USAID and businessmen Charles Mbire and Omar Mandela of City Oil and Café Javas.

The officials were arrested on Wednesday and are currently being interrogated by security forces.

The state has since dismissed a version of the story saying the officials printed excess money amounting to Shs90bn and shipped into the country.

Reports also dragged the name of Kasekende into the saga while the bank insisted he was away in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, attending the AfDB annual general meeting.

The investigations being done by Lt Col Edith Nakalema will tell.

Old scandals

The 60-year-old kicked a storm last year when the Inspector General of Government (IGG) looked into the assets and liabilities of at least 100 top Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials, including the Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.

Details from the declaration of income, assets and liabilities forms linked Kasekende to a number of property in upscale areas of Kampala, Wakiso and other areas.

For instance, the declarations to the IGG also contained full details on where Kasekende got the money for buying the prime assets in question, including posh cars.

When Parliament committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) decided to investigate Kasekende’s wealth, Aruu South County MP Odonga Otto tabled documents showing 72 land titles of prime plots said to be owned by the official in Kampala and Wakiso.

Kasekende submitted to IGG only six properties during the assets declaration before the ombudsman.

Otto also tabled bank statements detailing the transfer of $1m (about Shs3.7b) to Ms Edith Kasekende’s account by a Chinese firm, Shs1.9b from MMAKS Advocates and $71,000 (Shs262 million) that was wired to Kasekende’s account by Tororo District Local Government.

Otto told the Committee that some of the properties were transferred by Kasekende to the ownership of his driver and that Kasekende sold defunct bank assets worth Shs164bn “to enrich himself”.

Such banks included Crane bank owned by city Mogul Dr Sudhir Ruparelia. The Auditor General found that Bank of Uganda with Kasekende heralding it sold the formerly glorious cbl to dfcu bank of preferential terms that attracted a second hand cloth price of Uganda shillings 200 billion.

Bank of Uganda either negligently and or intentionally failed to charge dfcu interest on this transaction, causing the tax payer a loss of UGX39.5 billion, a report into the sale of the Bank by the Auditor General points out.

After four months of an intense probe by Cosase Chair Hon Abdu Katuntu, it was revealed that the sinners in the process of closure and sale of crane bank limited were; Justine Bagyenda, Louis Kasekende, Benedict Ssekabira, Katimbo Mugwanya and others.

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