Two top officials of Bank of Uganda (BoU) alongside a former colleague are reportedly camped in Jinja purposely to beg MPs on the out-going parliament’s Committee on Commission, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) not to implicate them in the controversial closure of seven defunct banks whose former owners now want them revived as well as BoU to compensate them for loss of business over the years. The compensation could be in trillions of shillings.
The MPs on COSASE are in gathered a certain hotel in Jinja to write a report on the probe they held against BoU top officials over the controversial closure of banks such as; Teefe Trust Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank Uganda and Crane Bank Limited.
The banks, according to BoU officials, were majorly closed due to undercapitalisation.
One of the MPs on the committee told Eagle Online that the BoU officials who want to be spared bear the responsibility for the mess in the closure of the banks between 1993 and October 20, 2017, with Crane Bank Limited (CBL) being the last one to be closed and sold to its rival at Sh200 billion even though BoU claims it spent Shs478 billion on CBL in receivership much as CBL needed only Shs157 billion to remain operating.
The BoU officials, according go the MP, are fearful that the report might recommend not only for their sacking but also prosecution in courts of law for not following guidelines in the laws related to the closure of banks.
Asked if the committee would meet the frightened BoU officials as members draft a report, the MP said that would be against the guidelines that govern committees of parliament when writing such reports.
“Remember we gave them enough time to talk to us, we requested for documents on bank closures, they gave us some while others were never given to us. This is what we will be looking at as we write the report,” the MPs said.
“You remember that the same BoU officials did not want the Auditor General to investigate them when we sent him there. You also remember that in his report, the Auditor General said he was not provided with some of the documents related to the closure of some banks. You also remember that we forced them to bring some of the documents they did not wants us to look at. Remember that when closed our probe last week, some of the documents were still missing. This is what is frightening them and it is the reason the three officials are camped in Jinja to see if they can influence us. However we it is too late now,” the MP said.
Meanwhile the MP said the committee’s recommendations will be aimed at reorganizing BoU in terms of its operations as well as recruitment of staff. He said one of the recommendations is likely to be that the Ministry of Finance supervise BoU and that the ministry should be the one to have the last say on the closure of banks. “You remember Matia Kasaija who is the minister of finance said he has never received any report on closure of banks,” he said.
The out-going COSASE led by Chairperson Abdu Katuntu is expected to present a report on BoU probe to parliament by end of next week as the new committee led by Mubarak Munyagwa takes over and the latter committee is expected to handle matters that were not handled by the former committee due to time constraint, caused by BoU’s failure to present documents in time as requested.
What is clear, is that the taxpayers will bear the loss should the committee recommend that former owners of closed banks be compensated as requested. “In the recommendations, someone must be punished for such losses,” said the MPs.