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Pressure group wants Parliament to summon Kasaija over Bagyenda reappointment

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Following the confirmation by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija that he had reappointed Ms Justine Bagyenda as board member of the Finance Intelligence Authority for a second term, a pressure group wants the House Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises to ask the minister to revoke the appointment.

In a July 23, 2018 letter addressed to Cosase Chairman Abdu Katuntu, Youth Power Research Uganda (YPRU), says that his committee should summon the ministry to explain the circumstance under which Ms Bagyenda was reappointed as board member of the FIA even as the agency and the inspectorate of government were investigating her for unexplained accumulation of wealth.

“We appeal to Cosase to summon Hon. Matia Kasaija to apologise to the investors on behalf of government for obstructing justice,” the letter reads in part.

The group also alleges that Bagyenda, a former director of supervision at Bank of Uganda (BoU) is under investigation for matters related to mismanagement or foul play which led to the dissolution of three banks in a shot span of less than six months while still working at BoU. They group says the closure of the banks caused many youth their jobs but also that it impacted on financial inclusion “hence hampering the growth of the economy.”

The group claims Ms Bagyenda had a hand in the closure of Crane Bank, Teffe Bank and National Bank of Commerce.

“We therefore appeal to Cosase to summon the Finance Ministry which is the line ministry to explain the circumstance which led to the appointment of a person to the board of the organization which is supposed to investigate her which is can jeopardise fair findings of the comprehensive investigations report as a result of conflict of interest,” the group says.

However last week, minister Kasaija said he reappointed Ms Bagyenda unaware that she was under investigation over alleged financial fraud. “When I re-appointed her, the issues of money laundering and others were not yet in the press. There is no way I could have re-appointed her with question marks surrounding her integrity,” he said.

The groups says that president Museveni has often ridiculed government workers who suffocate government processes.

Recent leaked bank documents showed that Ms Bagyenda on one her fixed account at Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) had US $214,149 on December 29, 2017 at an interest rate of 3 percent. The maturity date is set for Dec. 29, 2018, leading to a net interest of US$5,536 after a tax deduction of US $977.

Earlier on September 7, 2017, Bagyenda made a fixed deposit of Shs 179m and expects to earn a net interest of Shs7.5 million on maturity in March 2018.

She had on December 29, 2016, made another fixed deposit of US $1776, 717 which matured in December 2017.

On December 28, 2014, the transactions which leaked from private auditors indicate, Bagyenda did not make any fixed deposit – but she had a balance of US $238, 563 on her Diamond Trust Bank account.

For every deposit, Bagyenda received a certificate of deposit showing the interest the principal amount would attract, taxes incurred and net amount payable to her on maturity.

In March 2014, Bagyenda had made a fixed deposit of about Shs900 million which earned her a net interest of about Shs 9.2 million

In November 2014, Bagyenda had another fixed deposit of Shs568 million which saw her realise a net interest of Shs5.7million.

In January 2015, Bagyenda made another deposit of Shs480,000,000 million setting a maturity date of one month. She earned Shs4.8 million in interest.

Bagyenda’s source of these staggering amounts of money remains unclear as the public awaits to see what the FIA and IGG investigations will reveal.

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