All is not well at the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) following the establishment by investigators grilling Bank of Uganda that the Authority has not instituted an inquiry into Justine Bagyenda’s bank accounts. Bagyenda is a former director of supervision at BOU who was only sacked months ago.
In March this year, two banks- Diamond Trust Bank and Barclays Bank apologized to Ms Bagyenda over the leaked details of her fat accounts she holds at the banks.
“The bank regrets the unlawful act leading to disclosure of our said customer’s information in the media and sincerely apologies to Ms Justine Bagyenda for the inconvenience this regrettable incident may have caused,” read the March press release by Barclays Bank.
The leaked bank documents show that Ms Bagyenda’s bank accounts in the last six years had a balance of Shs20 billion which FIA was supposed to investigate but have not done so.
Also in March this year, former chairperson of Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, Nathan Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West), while addressing the media at parliament requested that Bagyenda be charged with money laundering. According to sources, FIA board Chairperson Leo Kibirango is reportedly against the authority investigating Bagyenga and is said to have warned officials at FIA.
Nandala said despite her status as the in charge of Supervision, Bagyenda could have aided money laundering given that the fact that she has lot of money in her accounts which she cannot legally explain how she earned it.
“We are going to carryout investigations and we are going to deal with those banks because they have been doing illegal things with Bagyenda. Actually those banks should be closed because they have been involved in money laundering. That lady Bagyenda has been the head of Anti-Money Laundering committee and the law we passed, states that whoever participates in anti-money laundering has to face prison for 20 years and that is why Bagyenda should have been in Luzira and the law accepts that the money she stole, should be returned,” Nandali said on March 19.
FIA’s head, Sydney Asubo, in March told Eagle Online that they had got sufficient information from whistleblowers which they were working hard to corroborate.
Bagyenda has been on the board of Financial Intelligence Authority which is overseeing anti-money laundering law.
On March 21, Ms Bagyenda was grilled by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja over illicit accumulation of wealth and unexplained fat bank accounts. Bagyenda was asked to explain the source of a staggering wealth in city banks that is said to be amounting to billions of shillings and millions of dollars. However sources at IGG said Bagyenda could not furnish decisive evidence on the sources of the money.
The IGG also quizzed Bagyenda about a hard-hitting non-compliance report by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) that indicates that her tax accountabilities could be Shs7 billion.
In March, leaked documents from telecommunication giant, MTN revealed that former Executive Director in charge of Supervision, Justine Bagyenda made mobile money transaction of close to Shs500 million on her number in three years.
The documents showed that Bagyenda and her son, a one Robert Muhumuza both could have transacted to Shs500 million although most of the transactions on their numbers where deposits from other number. Much of the money didn’t last as it is immediately dispatched to other accounts.
Eagle Online early reported that in two years, embattled Bank of Uganda Executive Director Justine Bagyenda wired Shs683 million to an account in Centenary Rural Development Bank held in the name of Kenny Muwonge.
According to the documents, ‘Kenny Muwonge’s’ account in Centenary Rural Development Bank is SA 2120011273 (Mukwano Arcade branch/Ben Kiwanuka Street) and details indicate Ms Bagyenda used to send the money in tranches of Shs20, 000,000 using the bank’s real time gross system (RTGS). RTGS is a system of payment made online from one bank to another and the payment goes through Bank of Uganda. It is real time because it takes two hours- you just make payment instructions to your banker instead of issuing cheques.
The Bank details in possession of Eagle Online cover the period 2014 to 2017. Ms Bagyenda, according to the documents, however, started making the electronic transfers to Kenny Muwonge on September 10 2015, with an initial Shs20, 000,000 transfer from her Barclays Bank (Kampala Road Branch) Account. Similar transfers went on into 2016 where she was more less the only creditor to the Kenny Muwonge account. Anyhow, between 2014 and 2017, the account had seen Shs2 billion pass through it, in 37 transactions with Mr. Muwonge.
Bagyenda, whose contract at BoU was supposed to end June 2018, was in a reshuffle announced by BoU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, retired. In her place Mutebile appointed Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi.
Financial Intelligence Authority is a government agency established by the Parliament of Uganda to monitor, investigate, and prevent money laundering in the country. It is also responsible for the enforcement of Uganda’s anti-money laundering laws and the monitoring of all financial transactions inside the country’s borders.
Kibirango worked with Bagyenda at BoU. Other board members of the board are, Grace Akullo, Patrick Ocailap and Patricia Mutesi