President Yoweri Museveni has ordered Bank of Uganda Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to ‘sort’ out ‘thieves’ at Bank of Uganda.
Museveni who met the Inspector General of Government and a team from BoU on Monday at State House after cabinet lectured the two sides to sort out bickering that could easily hurt the economy but also warned of thieves at BoU.
A tough talking Museveni told me Mutebile that BoU had performed well but the emerging reports that individuals at the central bank had amused wealth were disturbing and such individuals should be fished out.
According to sources at the said meeting, Museveni who seem to have equipped himself well with the current literature on the central bank argued that corruption at the bank could easily manipulate staff not to perform their duties as they are compromised by the sector the supervise.
“What is coming out of the bank isn’t good and that is an area where IGG should get involved by arresting those that are corrupt. Mutebile you should put your ears on ground and sort out these thieves. Otherwise I will come for them myself you don’t” Museveni said while looking directly in the face of Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende.
This website has learnt that at the said meeting, Mutebile tabled board minutes of the last board that gave him powers to restructure staff at the bank. It ought to be to be known that Mutebile is both governor and chairman of the board.
Eagle Online couldn’t verify whether the president’s call to Mutebile to sort out thieves was triggered by the revelation by leaked bank account details that revealed that former Executive Director in charge of Supervision at BoU, Justine Bagyenda had huge sums of money in several banks accounts. Bagyenda is now being investigated by Financial Intelligence Authority, Inspectorate of Government and Uganda Revenue Authority for allegations of money laundering and tax evasion from income on her properties.
According to sources, the president is said to have told the IGG pay attention to areas of investigation if there is any and not to be drawn in individual conflicts by personal interests between government officials.
The meeting which was known by few individuals was first denied to having taken place by the Minister of Information and Communication Frank Tumwebaze when he told a government daily that wasn’t true that the meeting was taking place. The paper had written earlier on its online version that Museveni was meeting the two sides.
Museveni’s meeting comes at the time when the IGG and Governor Mutebile are locked in exchange over whether IGG has powers to investigate Mutebile.
Recently, the IGG faced with the conundrum as to whether the Bank of Uganda Governor acted within his powers to make administrative changes at the Central Bank, one of which involved the retirement of Justine Bagyenda, the erstwhile Director of Bank Supervision. Ms. Bagyenda has since sought the protection of the IGG, who in turn has reportedly blocked the changes made by Mutebile.
‘This is to direct the Board of Directors of BoU not to ratify any actions or decisions taken by the Governor on or around February 7, 2018 in relation to the impugned appointments and transfers until such time as the investigation by the Inspectorate has been concluded or until this office directs otherwise’, the IGG’s March 12 letter states in part.
But in his five-page strongly-worded letter which he copied to among others President Yoweri Museveni, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and finance minister Matia Kasaija,. Mutebile draws the attention of the IGG to Article 162 (2) of the Constitution that guarantees the independence of the BoU from direction of any authority in the country. Others copied in include the Attorney General, the Auditor General and members of the BoU Board of Directors. ‘In performing its functions, the Bank of Uganda shall conform to this Constitution but shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority,’ the Article states in part.
Mutebile adds: ‘The Article in question is clear, unequivocal and unambigious on the Independence of the Bank of Uganda and the fact that Bank of Uganda is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority and therefore no outsider, including your office can interfere with the decisions of the Bank of Uganda’.
Writing in his column in the Daily Monitor, seasoned lawyer, Peter Mulira says the powers given to the Inspectorate and to the IGG are not executive powers and they are limited to enabling powers to carry out the functions set out in Article 225.
“These powers are reserved for the Director of Public Prosecutions under Article 120 of the Constitution and can only be exercised by him following police investigations. In short the Inspectorate’s power to prosecute any person is qualified by Article 120.”
He added “If the Governor of the Bank of Uganda were to succumb to the directives of the Inspectorate, he would be in breach of this provision of the Constitution.”