Anxiety, uncertainty pile up as Kasekende’s BoU contract ends

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Deputy Governor – Bank of Uganda, Louis A. Kasekende

By Kagenyi Lukka

If there is anyone who needs God most on the last day of 2019 is the outgoing and embattled Bank of Uganda Deputy Governor, Louis Kasekende.Kasekende’s contract as Deputy governor will end in January 2020 which leaves his future at the institution in a state of disuse and suspension. He has been DG, first from 1999 to 2002 and then from 2009 to present.

Confirmed reports indicate that the highly controversial and scandalous Kasekende has been trying to secure a contract extension at the BoU but all attempts have not yielded even the most minimal of results. The appointment of the deputy governor is done by the president who then sends the names to parliament for vetting and approval. The uncertain future has forced Kasekende to make several panicky moves of which some include;

 Kasekende’s panicky move 1.

Victoria University

One of Kasekende’s close friends who happens to be one of my relatives intimated to me yesterday that in an attempt to get a contract extension, Kasekende spent his Christmas holiday in Kigezi where he met and lobbied Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi. The two were holed up in a six-seven hour meeting. However, it should be emphasized that Muhakanizi has been strongly identified as one of the potential successors to the ailing governor, Prof.Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile whose contract ends in 2021.Louis Kasekende too has attempted a number of underhand manoeuvres to succeed Mutebile but this has failed.

Kasekende’s panicky move 2.

Our country is partly grappling with a huge a problem of blind identity chanuvinism.Certain sections of people in this country seem to naively think that there should be gazetted positions for particular categories of persons based on identities such as religion, tribe etc regardless of whether the person is a performer or not, corrupt or not.

Confirmed reports further reveal that Kasekende sent envoys led by former Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Monitoring, Gerald Ssendawula and Baganda Catholic clerics to President Yoweri Museveni’s country home of Rwakitura over the weekend to lobby the president with a view of keeping him Kasekende at BoU.

The delegation is reported to have been dominated by male clerics from Buganda argued that it is true BoU needs urgent changes but the changes must be uniform and implemented at a given time without necessarily targeting some individuals. It is common in Uganda for politicians and technocrats to run back to religious leaders for protection or seeking job promotion plus other favours.

The president’s reluctance to renew Kasekende’s contract before 2020 partly confirms the president’s commitment to clean up the institution that has been for long been riddled with operational irregularities, corruption, and endless succession battles among others.

The Independent Magazine under the title, ‘Mutebile, Kasekende, Muhakanizi set to leave’ in March 2018 reported that Kasekende is out of job. “While President Museveni has not pressed the exit button for these officials, the contract of 70-year old Mutebile ends in early 2021. That of 60-year old Kasekende ends earlier in 2020. Some of President Museveni’s handlers have told The Independent that both are out of a job”, the report reads.

Why Kasekende’s Contract should not be renewed

There all glaring reasons that can be advanced to call for the nonrenewal of Louis Kasekende’s contract as the number two at Bank of Uganda.

The deputy governor, Dr Louis Kasekende is one whose name has featured prominently in the latest BoU scandals and one wonders why he is still at the country’s central bank. A special audit on defunct banks of 27th August 2018 that was tabled before parliament’s committee on State Authorities and State Enterprises unearthed the decay at the central bank whose operations are headed by Louis Kasekende.

For instance, in the crane bank(cbl) scandal that resulted into its malicious donation to dfcu bank, Kasekende was undeniably the immediate supervisor of the then Executive Director in charge of commercial bank supervision Justine Bagyenda who didn’t act with judiciousness. And as per the auditor general’s observations, Crane bank was sold at a giveaway price(ugxx.200bn) without valuing its assets and liabilities but also the purported valuation was carried out by the buyer, dfcu!

In addition, financial statements for cbl under receivership weren’t prepared as Louis Kasekende unapologetically looked on.

It should be recalled as well that Lous Kasekende tried to block an investigative audit by the auditor general on the ‘advice’ of the solicitor general’s office.Mr Kasekende further 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.

The Solicitor General, Mr Francis Atoke, wrote back to the BoU Governor on May 2 ordering the bank not to cooperate with either the Auditor General or Parliament regarding an investigation into the sale of Crane Bank on grounds that any such inquiry would offend the subjudice rule. It only took the bold intrepidity of Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga to rule in favor of the audit on the basis that Bank of Uganda is not above the law.

COSASE/Parliament pins Kasekende on the Crane Bank saga

After a raft of back and forth investigations by parliament’s committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises (cosase) relating to the closure and sale of defunct banks, it was evident that Kasekende was one of the officials who did not do his role as the law requires.

The committee thus recommended thatDr Louis Kasekende be sacked from the Central Bank’s Board of Directors if the institution is to run its operations efficiently in the future.

The MPs in their report say that much as Article 161 (4), provides that the Governor and deputy Governor shall be Chairperson and Vice Chairperson respectively, good governance principles would require that the position of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the board is separated from the position of the Chief Executive Officer (Tumusiime-Mutebile) and his deputy (Kasekende).

“It is the recommendation of this committee (COSASE) therefore, that Article 161 (4) be reviewed to separate the offices the leadership of the Board and top management of BoU,” the report partly says.

It adds: “In line with G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance 2015 it is observed that in countries with Single Tier Board systems, objectivity of the board and its independence from management may be strengthened by the separation of the Chief Executive Officer and Chair.”

For instance, MPs in their report note that at the time of writing it, the BoU board had never asked for any report as regards the closure of the seven defunct banks and they tag this weakness of Kasekende being one of the heads of the board despite being top managers of BoU.

Under the arrangement above, the MPs said the board failed to supervise the banking sector, particularly the closure of the seven banks which was done by BoU officials without adhering to guidelines laid down in the Financial Institutions Act 2004.

Conclusively, Kasekende ought to have acted reasonably. If he had wanted to stay at institution, he ought to have known that one cannot build a glass house and throws stones at the same time or a vendor of eggs cannot start a fight in the market. If Kasekende wanted to stay at the BoU,why would he mess it up?

The reporter, Kagenyi Lukka is the next Ikiiki MP.

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