Reports coming in indicate that investigators from the Auditor General’s Office are finding it hard to access critical information as they investigate Bank of Uganda top officials who presided over the liquidation and sale of defunct banks.
The officers from the AG’s office are carrying out a forensic audit to establish how defunct banks like Crane Bank, Teefe Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Cooperative Bank and Global Trust Bank were liquidated and sold by BOU which has never produced any report relating to the transactions.
An insider among the investigators has intimated to Eagle Online that Dr. Louis Kasekende-BOU’s Deputy Governor and other senior directors are reluctant to provide the required critical details that the investigators are interested in so as to come up with a credible report that can be relied on when similar transactions happen in the future.
“We have made some breakthrough but top officials at BOU are not cooperating 100 per cent when it comes to issues of monetary transactions, assets of banks before closure and others. We are finding it hard to get critical information,” one of the investigators who preferred to remain anonymous for he is not allowed to speak to the press, said.
In mid-May this year, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed the AG to investigate BOU after reports emerged that the bank officials had earlier on refused to cooperate with the AG officials, claiming the case of the sale of Crane Bank was already in court and that it would breach the sub-judice rule. The Solicitor General had advised BOU top managers not to cooperate with the AG’s investigators.
The expanded audit into BoU was prompted by petitions from Crane Bank shareholders and central bank employees regarding Shs200 billion taxpayers’ money that was allegedly invested into the defunct commercial bank before it was liquidated in October 2016 and sold to DFCU Bank in January 2017.
The shareholders had earlier on petitioned Parliament’s Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) chaired by MP Abdul Katuntu and requested for an investigation into the sale of Crane Bank to DFCU Bank and the closure of other several banks in the past.
Quoting from the interim report submitted to Cosase on April 10, MP Katuntu disclosed that BoU officials had denied the AG access to any information regarding closure of Crane Bank and the National Bank of Commerce (NBC).
Yet two whistleblowers had also petitioned Parliament and the Inspector General of Government (IGG) on the same matter, calling for an independent audit into the sale agreement on Crane Bank between BoU and Dfcu bank.
The sale agreement was signed on January 25, 2017, between Mr Mutebile and Mr Juma Kisaame, the managing director of Dfcu Bank.
The audit, according to some of the AG’s investigators, srutinise the disputed agreement the BOU top managers signed with DFCU Bank in the sale of Crane Bank, and other issues of accountability, supervision, guidelines and policies.
The AG’s team is tasked to identify both the perpetrators in case of any fraud in the sale of the defunct banks.
It should be remembered that the AG John Muwanga, in fear that BoU staff might block his team on account of the sub-judice wrote to BOU Governor Emmanural Tumusiime-Mutebile on May 15, saying that Speaker Kadaga had cleared him to investigate BOU and therefore needed their cooperation. “I have received the clarification from the Speaker in a letter, ref AP116/161/01 dated May 10, 2018, and copied to you guiding me to proceed with the audit and submit the report to Parliament as required by law,” Muwanga’s letter read in part.
Despite the Speaker clearing the AG to go ahead with the investigations, it has now turned out that BOU directors still continue not to cooperate with us on certain critical issues they think if revealed will cost them their job and reputation, says another investigator.