The Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) led by Hon. Matia Kasaija and Hon. Betty Amongi, Thursday appeared before the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises [Cosase] Chaired by Hon. Ibrahim Kasozi to update the committee on the statues of the properties under its custody.
Kampala Central Member of Parliament Muhammad Nsereko said Cosase has learnt that Finance minister Hon. Matia Kasaija holds two public offices concurrently which is against the law.
The first being the chair of the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board and the other being a nominee of the president in the same Board.
In response, Kasaija told the committee: “It is true that I have never resigned from being a “nominee of the president” in the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board.”
He went on: “I agree that it is irregular to hold two public offices I promise to resign from being a nominee of the president in the Board.”
The subcommittee investigating the departed Asians Property custodian board asked whether it’s lawfully to occupy two public offices to which he said “it’s not right”.
“Mr chairman of this committee, I can confirm to you that I am holding these offices unlawfully. I beg that you forgive me,” Kasaijja said.
Kasaija said that he was appointed by the President for both positions and “will seek guidance from the Attorney General William Byaruhanga on this matter and report back to this committee”.
The committee quizzed Kasaija why the Attorney General is always absent in the custodian board meetings.
Kasaijja said that it’s wrong for him to dodge board meetings.
The committee also discovered that the custodian board has taken long without holding meetings.
MP Nsereko pointed out that according to the law, the board is supposed to sit every month.
However, Kasaija said that the law is strict and so it’s not a must to sit every month.
“But I apologise on behalf of the board members for not doing our work.”
Cosase chair Hon. Ibrahim Kasozi asked: does the Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board in possession of the seal?
Bernard Tumwesigire, the former Executive Secretary of the Board, said in response: “I possess of the seal of the Board but I agree to hand it over the Attorney General.”
“I have had threats on my life because of Hon Kasaija. I’m not ready to hand over to Kasaija.”
The committee demanded that Tumwesigire hands over the departed Asians Property custodian board seal or they hand him over to CID for investigation.
MPs grill Kasekende
On Tuesday, Bank of Uganda (BoU) Deputy Governor Dr Louis Kasekende was tasked to explain whereabouts of Shs800m that was meant to be paid to the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) as compensation following the controversial closure of commercial banks.
Last week, the DAPCB executive secretary, George William Bizibu, told MPs on the Parliament’s COSASE that BoU is yet to compensate the money they had in National Credit Bank before it was closed.
MPs demanded to know from Dr Kasekende why DAPCB has not yet received the money yet some shoddy companies and individuals were paid by the government.
However, Dr Kasekende explained that all people and companies were compensated and that he does not remember a claim from DAPCB.
MPs also demanded to know why BoU compensated some individuals at least twice for non-existent properties.
“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.
Dr Kasekende explained that BoU only effected payments acting on the instructions of DAPCB.
The Members of Parliament have since asked the government officials who handled the Departed Asians properties to table proof of compensation for each property.