By Kagenyi Lukka
In the famous book, Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, financial journalist Gillian Tett, describes how an elite banking tribe gained so much power over the rest of society to an extent of messing up the economies of US, the biggest economy at the time.
If one is to juxtapose Tett’s description of the origin of the credit crunch at that time with the current situation in Uganda; then what we can say, is that the unending scandals at the Central Bank, could as well lead us into financial temptation.
The almost systematic scandalous virus that is eating up Bank of Uganda started with the Auditor General’s report detailing how commercial banks have been closed via Whatsapp message, money and assets taken mafia style and no trace of meetings or minutes taken in relation to the closure.
To some people, the Auditor General’s report seemed like a dream far from reality.
Yet, when the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) investigated the matter, the problem seemed even bigger when the facts were laid on table.
Unscrupulous deals, cliques, deals and other related flaws were some of the dealings that the parliamentary committee found out.
Another Presidential Tripartite Committee Report has exposed more rot at the central bank, recommending a total overhaul of the bank if normal operations are to be realized at the bank.
The Presidential Committee has also recommended a comprehensive review of the legal regime governing the Bank of Uganda, especially the Bank of Uganda Act Cap 51.
The separation of position of Governor from that of chairperson of board to suit the corporate governance doctrine is the other recommendation that the presidential committee has recommended.
The presidential committee members have also pinned Governor Tumusiime Mutebile and his deputy, Louis Kasekende over in-fighting and conducting irregular recruitments.
The report is in reponse to a litany of allegations related to irregular recruitments conducted by Mutebile in February last year.
The 12 staff promoted staff under probe over irregular recruitment, include Joyce Lanyero Okello, Executive Director/Personal Assistant to Governor; Charity Balaba Mugumya, Director Communications Department; Hannington Wasswa, Director Commercial Banking Department; Vito Melvin Semakula, Assistant Director IT Security and Compliance.
Others are; James Mbanda Byamukama, Assistant Director IT Operations; Gimei Katongole Kaliisa, Assistant Director Operations Accounts Department; Alan Norman Lwetabe, Assistant Director Reserves and Investment, Financial Markets Department; Cynthia Nakayiza, Assistant Director Operations Banking Department.
Sophia Kironde Iwumbe, Assistant Director On-site Inspection Commercial Banking Department; Oscar Kiiza, Assistant Director Pension Administration and Financial Reporting; Bosco Bainamazima, Assistant Director BoU Fort Portal Branch; and Francis Kakeeto, Assistant Director BoU Mbale Branch, who was recently arrested over the currency saga involving suspected printing of over sh350b, are the other irregular recruited staff.
The recruitment of Dr. Natamba Bazinzi as the assistant director currency administration is the other appointment under probe.
To harmonise these irregularities, the committee has recommended that a new position of deputy governor be created so that such a person handled administration and recruitment.
“In this same regard the Committee also recommends that in the immediate short term, all decisions involving human resource matters be subjected to the approved processes and coordinated through the Administration Directorate hierarchy in accordance with the Administration Manual to avoid propagating the impression to staff that parallel processes exist in terms of advancing human resource related interests,” committee members said.
To me the above indicates that the problem is not the BoU as portrayed.
I therefore strongly appeal to President Yoweri Museveni to do the needful. And that needful is in his proper power to do so that he can save our central bank from sinking.
The public outcry is for Mr. Museveni to sack Mutebile and Kasekende, and a couple of other big rotten dead wood at the bank.
This is a genuine call because all reports and investigations around bank of Uganda indicate or point to total malaise in terms of the operations and the way the central bank is run.
The governor is no longer in charge. The deputy governor is fighting for supremacy instead of doing his work, and the staff, who are supposed to obey them, are instead treating the leaders with contempt as the fight for supremacy and cliques continue to emerge at the central bank.
The writer is a current affairs analyst and aspiring MP for Ikiiki county in Budaka district.