Bank of Uganda (BoU), which was once a revered public institution, widely viewed as the epitome of good corporate governance and a hub of astuteness in the banking sector, has suffered a fair share of bad press over the years without an end.
This bad press has been largely catapulted by the endless fraudulent, unprofessional and unethical practices by unremorseful actors mostly from directors up to the governor and his controversial deputy Dr Louis Kasekende.
I have used the term unremorseful actors in the antecedent sentence deliberately. If the actors were remorseful, we wouldn’t be seeing more of the same, day after day, week to week, month to month and alike.
Their fraudulent and irregular closure of defunct banks was a very ugly spectacle which will cost the government billions of shillings.
Louis Kasekende-BoU’s controversial deputy governor.
From the proceedings before parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and state Enterprises (COSASE), it was evidently visible that the hitherto revered economist was not the man whose curriculum vitae we have all heard of or read.
For instance, he could not convince the nation on the expenditure of Crane bank’s Liquidation cost of Ushs.478 billion. He toyed with the idea of carrying out a fresh audit of the liquidation cost but the auditor general flatly rejected Kasekende’s pleas. For some keen observers, this move was intended to cover-up for the misappropriated funds that were disguised as liquidation cost for CBL.
In a letter dated March 11, 2019, Kasekende wrote to AG requesting for the said inquiry but Mr. Muwanga in his reply dated April 4, 2019 to Dr. Kasekende said he couldn’t carry out the verification because the report on the same subject was already with the Speaker.
“Regrettably, I am unable to undertake the verification since the report has been issued to the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament on February 18, 2018. Any additional verification on the already issued report can only be undertaken with the authority of parliament. We will keep the documents and wait for further communication from COSASE” reads Mr Muwanga’s letter which was copied to the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga and the then chairperson, Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).
Interestingly BoU officials led by Kasekende wanted CBL shareholders to refund the Shs478 billion yet they did not enter into any contract with CBL’s shareholders.
CBL shareholders led by Sudhir Ruparelia told the probe that they would not pay that money since they don’t know where it came from, who received and how it was used. BoU officials have no documentation about the use of the money. CBL needed Shs157 billion to stay afloat even as BoU spent Shs478 billion on its liquidation.
Kasekende attempts to block forensic audit on defunct banks attracting backlash from Nandala Mafabi.
To curtail exposure of deleterious practices at BoU,Kasekende led the chorus to block the forensic audit into the irregular closure and sale of Commercial banks by the Auditor General. Mr Kasekende wrote to the Attorney General on April 19, 2018, protesting an investigative audit by the Auditor General on the resolution process of Crane Bank Ltd (in receivership) on grounds that such an inquiry offends the sub-judice rule.
But Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi, the lead petitioner for an audit into BoU, yesterday said Mr Kasekende was attempting to shield a “mafia” at the Central Bank and insisted the Auditor General must be given freedom to audit the bank.
“Those are the mafias hiding what they have been stealing. In Tanzania, Bank of Tanzania was audited by the Auditor General and grand theft was discovered. I am certain that there is more plunder at BoU. It should account for all the closed banks,” Mr Mafabi said in April 2018.
Kasekende in a fresh fraud of Ushs.800 Million for the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) including National Credit Bank
On Tuesday this week in company of Margret Kaggwa Kasule,BoU’s lawyer,Kasekende sweated before the COSASE subcommittee investigating the fraud in the compensation for the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB)
Dr Louis Kasekende was in particular tasked to give accountability of the Shs 800 million that was meant to be paid to the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB).He failed to convincingly explain to Members of Parliament.
The money had been kept in Bank of Uganda and legislators wanted to know why the custodian board had not received any penny.
His appearance before the committee follows last week’s revelations by DAPCB executive secretary, Mr George William Bizibu that BoU is yet to compensate the money they had in National Credit Bank before it was closed.
It was also established that there were several anomalies in the compensation process for instance; “In Annex C, it is indicated that Plot 7 Kanjokya Street was paid for by the government to two different people with the same amount,” said Samia Bugwe South MP Gideon Onyango, while perusing through documents submitted by BoU to MPs.
The embattled deputy governor also could not explain the anomalies in the documents listing the properties whose original owners government compensated through United Nations High Commission for Refugees and British High Commission.
The author is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP Ikiiki County in Budaka district.