Reports coming in suggest that the embattled former Director of Supervision at the Bank of Uganda (BOU), Ms Justine Bagyenda is poised to remain as member of the Board of the Finance Intelligence Authority (FIA), her contract having expired. Never mind the investigations lined up against her.
The chairman of FIA Leo Kibirango has sent Ms Bagyenda’s name to minister of finance, Matia Kasaija, recommending her and others despite being Begyenda under investigations.
If that is true, there is no Kibirango is promoting financial corruption in this country. Parliament, according to watchers interested in that matter, should immediately throw out Kibirango’s recommendation until the lady is cleared of any wrongdoing.
It should be remembered that Ms Bagyenda was sacked in February this year by Bank of Uganda Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile even as she was officially to retire this June, having clocked 60 years, the age at which Ugandan civil servants are supposed to retire.
Eagle Online has also learnt that Bagyenda is trying to use some individuals in Special Forces Command to link her to Criminal Investigations Department so that investigations involving her aren’t carried by the CID.
In the sweeping changes that he made at BOU, Mutebile replaced Bagyenda with Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, but he has never given reasons as to why he kicked out the lady that is currently troubled over alleged accumulation of wealth through illegal means.
As Ms Bagyenda awaits parliament’s approval to sit on the FIA Board for the second term, the appointing authority, should remember that parliament wants her to be investigated under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013.
“These are people who have been stealing money indirectly. When Bank of Uganda goes under, it comes to Parliament and we give it money. Instead of making sure that banks operate ethically, Bagyenda has been colluding to ensure that banks operate unethically and the taxpayer ends up losing,” MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi (Budadiri West) said months ago.
The Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) directed the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga to conduct investigation at BOU, following a petition by some BoU employees probe top managers there. Ms Bagyenda was one of them, supervising commercial banks’ activities.
The ongoing inquiry by Mr Muwanga and his team is supposed to look into the circumstances surrounding the closure of National Bank of Commerce (NBC) and Crane Bank (CB) and others and why former shareholders of the banking institutions were not furnished with reports detailing the plight of their money. The taxpayers’ Shs200b that was used to capitalize Crane Bank before its sale is said to have been spent based on Ms Bagyenda’s recommendation.
Much as Bagyenda has left BOU, she cannot escape the probe especially as the leaked documents showed she transacted about Shs20 billion on her bank accounts. The affected banks-Diamond Trust Bank and Barclays Bank had to apologise to Bagyenda for the leakage of her account details.
That aside, the Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonja Ms Bagyenda on tracker to see if she has violated the Leadership Code that requires politicians and senior government officials to declare their wealth.
This is meant to safeguard public resources from corrupt officials. It is said Bagyenda has appeared before the IGG to explain how she acquired the wealth that has raised eyebrows in the public. On the other hand, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is demanding that she pays the income taxes she allegedly evaded. There are documents to this effect.
Following a recent letter that a Kampala youth group wrote to the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, demanding that government explains why the FIA has not published any report concerning money laundering allegations placed against Ms Justine Bagyenda, the Authority’s executive director Mr Sydney Asubo, last week came out, claiming unrealistically that the investigations were ongoing.
However, he continued that his office was waiting for a communication form President Yoweri Museveni on the same. But now information that Ms Bagyenda is to retain her sit on FIA Board for the second term brings confusion since it would be hard for the FIA to investigate a board member and even if it did, it would put the investigation into disrepute.
The new appointment should come after Ms Bagyenda has been cleared by the agencies investigating her as well as Bank of Uganda where she worked and helped with the liquidation and sale of various banks now defunct.