A sources in Bank of Uganda has revealed that the country could have lost close to Shs150 billion in the retirement scam that is rocking the central bank. Accordingly this scam started over ten years and it involved bigwigs who had either falsified age who either wanted promotion or recommendation to international jobs.
“It is a known practice here that age falsification has been real and they do it openly given that one suites the interests of the supervisor. However, we are also meant to understand that upon falsifying age and one gets a promotion, there is percentage shared between HR officials and the supervisor.” said a source.
However, what is intriguing is the silence by the country’s top investigative organs like the Inspectorate of Government, Criminal Investigation Department, Economic Monitoring Unit in Internal Security Organisation (ISO) with none of those organisation ever picking interest in this matter or else be other matters that have recently happened at BoU.
Instead to the contrary, reports indicate some of these agencies are in bed with BoU knowing that they control the economy and hence money. who remembers the scandal involving printing of money? How about the scandal involving smuggling of old currency notes at currency centres across the country? And the shs600 billion which was kept in un-gazetted centre in Masaka? the list is endless.
So why would the country’s ombudsman in the name of IGG who has been running around small teachers and other local government employees for same reason of falsifying age fail to run after ‘big’ fish? Isn’t it strange and that is why that office has been reduced to only participating in corruption talks and walks that are either organised by powerful city pastors or State House Anti Corruption desk.
The first time the Inspector General of Government tried to investigate the Bank of Uganda (BoU) was when the former executive director of commercial banking Ms Justine Bagyenda was sacked on February 7, 2018 by her boss Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile for unknown reasons, though the governor said staff changes at the time were carried out in order to advance the mission of BoU, and to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The intervention of the IGG into BoU over Bagyenda’s sacking would lead to a public spat between Tumusiime-Mutebile and IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja with each official claiming to be doing their work as provided for by the laws establishing them. President Yoweri Museveni would come in to settle the misunderstanding between the two senior public officials.
That aside, BoU continues to be engulfed with scandals including violating its own Administration Manual that among others, guides on recruitment of staff.
Days ago BoU board was once again on the wrong side of the law by declining to sack 12 staff who were found guilty of falsifying their age at the time of entry. Instead the board allowed the officials to retire voluntarily, meaning Ugandan taxpayers will lose money in terms of retirement benefits to the affected officials. The irregularity was identified after BoU management asked all staff to submit copies of their national identification cards, where it was found out that 12 staff had their dates of birth not matching with those on their national IDs. For that crime they were supposed to face outright dismissal as put in the BoU Administration Manual (April 2018).
The staff that should have been dismissed by BoU Board outright include; Modesto Auka-Director of the National Payment System Department, Stephen Ssemugga-Director Administrative Services and Solomon Oketcho-Executive Director of Administrative Services. Others are; Patrick Opio-Assistant Director Security and Peter Rumanzi I van-Assistant Director of the Petroleum Fund.
More others include; Sophie Odongo Ekuka (Currency Department), Julius Enyasu (Security), Adonia Mpora (Administrative Services), Fred Olonga (Non-banking institutions Department), Patrick Simon Katamba (Commercial banking), Stella Kaitesi Lubega (Statistics) and Peter Musai Wamurumba (Banking).
The board decided that the affected individuals retire voluntarily but the decision was against BoU’s own Administration Manual April, 2018. It should be mentioned that the board is headed by Tumusiime-Mutebile and his deputy Dr Louise Kasekende as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.
Despite the above two officials holding positions on BoU board, parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) recommended that the guidelines changed so that they don’t hold both management and supervisory roles, as the current situation makes them to report to themselves, hence the inefficiencies at the central bank, like the failure to sack 12 staff that falsified their age.
Confidential report blames Tumusiime-Mutebile for illegal staff changes
A confidential report of the presidential tripartite committee, authored in February this year, blames Tumusiime-Mutebile for personally recruiting five senior staff without subjecting them to any interviews as required by the Bank of Uganda Act, which he is supposed to adhere to. Worse still, most of the staff head picked by the governor did not meet the qualifications and experience required for the jobs at BoU.
For instance, Dr. Twinemanzi Tumubweine (Executive Director Bank Supervision) does not have any experience in commercial banking, according to the committee’s findings. BoU’ other board members faulted Tumusiime-Mutebile on most of staff changes at BoU, saying he never consulted them and that it was illegal. One would expect that the IGG investigate such matters and make recommendations that strengthen BoU as an important institution in the country.
With this reports of bad governance at the country’s central bank, one would be left to think that it is worse with commercial banks that are supervised by BoU.