The Bank of Uganda departments of operations as well as currency are the reason why the central bank has had its image tainted and it will take long for the central bank to gain its credibility. But insider sources say a top executive is behind the majority of most of the scandals that have ensured that money goes into his pockets.
The official’s name appeared prominently in the closure of certain commercial banks in Uganda where the central bank failed to follow the laid down guidelines and procedures in closing the banks, with the prominent ones being Crane Bank Limited (2016), Global Trust Bank (2014) and National Bank of Commerce (2012).
The official was also tried so much to fail the audit of BoU by the Auditor General John Muwanga and tried to use legal means to sabotage the probe only for Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to insist that Muwanga had to do his work given that BoU is public entity and therefore not immune to such probe, despite having a bit of independence.
The same official and others hid documents related to the sale of Crane Bank Limited and especially those to do with the accountability of Shs478 billion the central bank claimed to have injected as liquidity support in former Crane Bank Limited while under receivership.
It was later discovered by Muwanga that Shs290 billion of that money could not be accounted for. Yet later on the same official wanted Muwanga to repeat audit of Shs478 billion. But Muwanga dashed away his request, saying that only parliament could order him to repeat the process which the official wanted to use to hoodwink the Auditor General and clear his name.
It is also claimed that the top official was instrumental in ensuring that Crane Bank Limited’s assets were transferred to DFCU Bank at Shs200 billion, paid in installments, moreover interest free. The official and others, according to insider sources at BoU shared money from this bogus transaction where some analysts have said DFCU Bank acquired assets of its rival Crane Bank Limited free of charge in 2017.
It is said the top official is also behind the ill-advised suit where BoU wants Sudhir Ruparelia and Meera Investments to pay Shs397 billion alleged to have been stolen from former Crane Bank. The official sought by using Crane Bank In Receivership as a plaintiff, BoU would be favoured by court but days ago head of commercial court, Justice David Kutosi Wangutusi dismissed the suit, saying Crane Bank In Receivership has no right to sue.
It is said a top manager at BoU has been behind the recent scandals where officials have involved themselves in theft. For instance the issue of Shs90 billion that was printed without the authorization of BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, is not resolved yet as investigators are yet to release the report.
As if that one is not enough the latest is the recent arrest of BoU staff at its Mbale branch where they were trying to smuggle out old shilling notes that they were supposed to destroy before disposing them off. This habit, according to insider sources in BoU has been going on for years now and no wonder old shillings notes still circulate in the economy despite efforts by the central bank to get rid of them in partnership with commercial banks and other financial entities.
Reports also indicate that other BoU officials at Mbarara Currency Centre are also under investigations in relations to smuggling out old currency notes, with the official said to be heavily involved.
Insiders at BoU say the junior staffs are directed by the top official to carry out the illegal activity that brings back the old notes in circulation. They say staffs involved in this bad activity have bought and build themselves mansions, set up real estate businesses within the shortest time. The staffs and the top official saw old notes as an opportunity to grow personal wealth.
In fact according to a recent report on BoU, the official has a clique of staff that he works with to frustrate the good intentions of governor Tumusiime-Mutebile. Staffs who were asked by a committee appointed by President Yoweri Museveni said that such cliques are responsible for poor operations at BoU and the said senior staffs want this top manager dismissed if the institution is to stabilize and gain public trust again.
The official who heads operations at BoU is said also not to be at good terms with his junior who was hired in February after former executive director for bank supervision Justine Bagyenda was fired by Tumusiime-Mutebile for underperformance. Insiders say the official wants to take over some of the roles his junior.
Ugandans are now waiting to see what government will do to the BoU official involved. Most probably, according to analysts, after investigations they will be asked resign or sacked or prosecuted in courts of law. However, other citizens argue that government should seize the properties of the culprits to teach others a lesson. The said top official behind the scandals at BoU is extremely rich, with the wife and children running multi-billion businesses.