Details have emerged that top officials from Bank of Uganda led by Deputy Governor, Dr.Louis Kasekende, Chairman of Dfcu bank Jimmy Kiberu and city lawyer Apollo Makubuya from MMAKS Adocates yesterday at Serena Hotel Kigo Golf Course in a bid to frustrate Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, in case she blocks a fresh probe of BoU by parliament’s Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).
Sources say the officials met after realising that Kadaga would go by the call by two petitions that recently urged her not to allow a second BoU probe meant to help top officials there to clean their names that were tarnished during the first probe that started in late October 2018 and ended in February this year, pinning BoU officials on negligence and irregular closure of seven commercial banks as they didn’t follow the established guidelines.
Days ago Chairperson of COSASE Mubarak Munyagwa appointed a select subcommittee headed by Makindye East Member of Parliament (MP), Ibrahim Kasozi to probe BoU again especially over the Shs478 billion as that BoU claims it injected in Crane Bank limited (CBL) as liquidity support during its receivership that took place between October 20 2016 and January 25, 2017. BoU closed CBL due to undercapitalisation.
Sources at parliament say the Speaker has been upset by the reports that senior individuals in government are plot against parliament and moreover using both Munyagwa and Kasozi to frustrate her work.
However, during the first COSASE probe of BoU, it was established that Shs478 billion was not properly utilized for the purpose as the Auditor General John Muwanga established that Shs320 billion of that money could not be accounted for as BoU did not present all documents required, moreover it was worsened by the fact the BoU acted as a lender and borrower in the transaction.
Months ago, Kasekende wrote to Muwanga pleading for an audit on account of finding new documents related to the use Shs478 billion but the former declined, arguing that he had already than his job and that only parliament could order him to revisit the audit, a response that displeased BoU officials who are fighting hard to clear their names.
Recently the same BoU officials led by Kasekende carried the documents to parliament but were sent away for not coming along with the accountant of the bank and all required documents to support the use of Shs478 billion that the bank wants shareholders of CBL to repay yet they were not involved in the transaction. Sources within the bank also say CBL only needed Shs150 billion to keep afloat even though BoU officials sold the bank to its rival DFCU Bank at Sh200 billion, paid in installments.
Two separate petitions were days ago delivered to Kadaga pleading with her to block Munyagwa’s Cosase from conducting fresh investigations into BoU’s sale of seven commercial banks.
The petitioners, Michael Businge a resident of Nsambya, Kampala and Sam Kakuru a student of Uganda Christian University contest that it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money on a ‘syndicated move’ to clear BoU officials of wrongdoing.
The Speaker who supervises all the committees of parliament is expected to look at the merits in the petitions and the rules that guide Parliament to take a decision.
The petitioners argue that the House Rules of Procedures do not give Cosase powers to re-examine its reports and accused MPs of creating a backlog.
“These exercises cost taxpayer’s money and must be performed lawfully. [We cannot keep repeating the same things uncles there is something MPs are not telling Ugandans… This is to request you to prevail on the said Committee not to spend state resources (money and time) on a re-examination which is outside its mandate” Businge says in his petition to Kadaga.
On the other hand, Mr Kakuru, another petitioner, argues that the direction being taken by the Committee amounts to “contempt of parliament” hence asking the Speaker to relieve Mr Munyagwa of his duties as Committee Chairperson.
He argues that the select sub-committee headed by MP Kasozi with instructions to hear the BoU officials in closed meetings which is questionable.
“The Sub-Committee headed by Hon Ibrahim Kasozi is ultra vires on grounds that it conducts its proceedings behind closed doors. The issues of banking sector (Central Bank) are of public/tax payer concern,” he says.
The petitioners want parliament instead to act on the recommendations listed by the first probe headed by MP Abdu Katuntu as regards the irregular closure of banks and misuse of taxpayers’ money in the process.