Mr Opio

A Bank of Uganda (BoU) official has said that the former executive director for supervision, Ms Justine Bagyenda, who is abroad and wanted by MPs investigating the controversial sale of seven commercial banks, moved vital documents out of the institution early this year.

Mr. Milton Opio Orech, BoU’s Director of Security told MPs that Bagyenda moved documents in 3 bags to her home but later returned only two bags, meaning she is withholding some documents in her home. MPs want to know whether the documents she moved out relate to the sale of banks.

Last Thursday when asked by MPs on Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) about quarterly progress reports concerning BoU’s liquidation of Greenland Bank since 1999, Ms Bagyenda claimed she handed over quarterly progress reports of defunct Greenland Bank to her successor Dr. Tumubweine Twinemanzi but he denied he ever received such reports during the handover.

Stories Continues after ad

BoU Governor also denied he ever received the reports in his office. Bank of Uganda’s Director for Financial Markets Development Coordination, Mr. Benedict Ssekabira said during the probe last Thursday that he forwarded documents to Bagyenda concerning the liquidation of Greenland Bank

Mr. Orech on Tuesday told MPs that Bagyenda claimed some of the documents she took home were her personal property. He said Bagyenda was helped by a certain BoU driver and security officers who were on duty to put documents in a car. MPs have ordered Mutebile to return with the officers for questioning tomorrow.

He said the documents were moved out of BoU on Feb 11, 2018 by Bagyenda. And that he wrote a report about Bagyenda’s illegal action. But when MP Nathan Byandala asked the officer what happened after he submitted the report to his superiors, he said no action was ever taken against Bagyenda.

He said a search warrant was later obtained to search Bagyenda’s home for missing documents but later, he said, the search was called off after Bagyenda claimed she was witch hunted by some BoU staff. At the time of her retirement Bagyenda was not on good terms with Mutebile who sacked her. She would later drag her to the Inspector General of Government for unfair dismissal.

Cosase Chairman Abdu Katuntu has formed a committee to examine documents that were returned but by Bagyenda but also get more information on missing documents. The MPs were supposed to report to him by end of Tuesday this week.

Bagyenda could also have taken documents related to Crane Bank Limited takeover as she participated in the process of selling its assets and liabilities to DFCU Bank.

Greenland Bank’s loans were sold together with loans of International Credit Bank (ICB) and the Cooperative Bank at Shs8.89 billion, following a 93 percent discount, to mysterious company Nile River Acquisition.

On May 24, 2007, contracted by BoU, JN Kirkland & Associates evaluated the remaining assets of the three closed banks and identified a suitable firm, M/s Octavian Advisors, LP which expressed interest to purchase these assets at USD.10.0m from BOU. But following further negotiations with BOU, M/s Octavian Advisors, and LP registered Nile River Acquisition Company in Mauritius, a tax haven in order to transact with BOU.

“In December 2007, BOU signed an agreement with Nile River Acquisition Company (NRAC) 8 to sell the debt portfolio of Greenland Bank, ICB and Cooperative bank at USD.5, 25m (UGX.8.898, 736,349). The debt portfolio comprised of Secured, Poorly Secured, Unsecured and Unknown loans amounting to UGX.135, 054,430,888e. The details of the loan portfolio are in table below. The sale of the loans to NRAC resulted in a variance of Shs126.155 billion,” the Auditor General John Muwanga’s special audit report of BoU on defunct banks says.

However, NRAC would assign Nil Investments Limited, a local company to collect the debts on its behalf.

BoU deputy governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende and Mr. Ssekabira could not convince Cosase MPs on why they sold all categories of the loans belonging to the three banks in a lumpsum.

In his report, Mr. Muwanga said that by combining secured loans with those unsecured, poorly secured, unsecured and unknown, BoU lessened the value of secured loans which valid documentation and security.

Last week, BoU officials said the assets of the three banks were sold under English Laws which favours the buyer- M/s Octavian Advisors, LP which domiciled in Great Britain. MPs were shocked because, in case of a dispute between BoU and the company, I would be resolved in Britain and not Uganda because the agreement does not mention Ugandan laws.