The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) Pius Bigirimana has come out to say that the Bank of Uganda (BoU) has corrupt officials who landed him in trouble while he was serving at the same level in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) when billions of shillings meant for northern Uganda rehabilitation went missing from the bank accounts.
Mr. Bigirimana told a gathering in Kampala on Wednesday that some BoU officials connived with former principal accountant in OPM Geoffrey Kazinda to fleece government of money that was meant to rebuild northern Uganda after government defeated Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“This things you are seeing at Bank of Uganda now, I saw them long time ago and I warned the country about them…when my signature was forged during OPM scandal and instead I was attacked yet the corrupt were there,” Bigirimana said while speaking at a Laspnet event at Hotel Africana.
Mr. Bigirimana said that the BoU officials did not at any time call him to ascertain the authenticity of his signature as required as they dealt with Kazinda.
He said the BoU corrupt officials did not even bother to call him to reconcile accounts as required. “We are required to reconcile accounts every day, every month but they called me,” he said. Bigirimana would later establish the fraud and raised an alarm that led to the imprisonment of Kazinda. It’s not clear whether government has recovered a fraction of the money.
Mr. Bigirimana’s utterances come at the time when BoU top officials are being grilled by MPs over the controversial closure of seven commercial banks in which some are said to have profited given the disappearance of some of the documents related to the closure and liquidation of the banks.
BoU officials have for instance failed to account for Shs478.8 billion they claim they sank in Crane Bank Limited (CBL) during its takeover between October 20, 2016 and January 20 , 2017 when CBL was put under receivership, DFCU Bank having agreed to pay BoU Shs200 billion in instalments .
BoU officials also sold assets of Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank and Cooperative Bank at a huge discount of 93 percent to the mysterious Nile River Acquisition Company (NRAC) which paid US$5.2 million (about Shs8.8 billion) of the possible Shs134 billion. Their explanations did not convince the MPs of the parliament’s committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase).
The BoU officials further made matters worse when they closed Global Trust Bank Uganda for being insolvent and undercapitalised and sold its assets in one day, thus on July 25, 2014. The buyer (DFCU Bank), was sought over telephone by the then executive director for bank supervision Ms Justine Bagyenda. It came to light that BoU staff have shares of over just 1 percent in DFCU Bank, which brings about conflict of interest. The same staff are said to have shares in Bank of Baroda and Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited (now Stanbic Holding Limited).