Louis A. Kasekende is a Ugandan economist who recently left Bank of Uganda (BoU) where he had been serving as its Deputy Governor. He began his five-year term in this position on 18 January 2010, having served in the same capacity from 1999 until 2002.
Many people in Uganda especially those in the banking industry thought Kasekende would replace BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile who is about to retire soon but the turn of events painted a different picture as we will read ahead.
Kasekende holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from Makerere University. He possesses Master of Arts (MA) degree in economics and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics, from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.
From 1988 until 1994, Kasekende worked as a part-time lecturer at Makerere University. He joined BoU in 1986 and served in various capacities including Director of Research, Executive Director of Research and Policy and Deputy Governor.
Between 2002 and 2004, Kasekende was seconded to the World Bank by the Uganda government to serve as the Executive Director to the World Bank, representing 22 African countries, including Uganda, on the bank’s executive board.
From May 2006 to 2009, he served at the offices of the African Development Bank (AfDB), in Tunis, Tunisia, as AfDB’s Chief Economist. During his tenure, he is credited for playing a leading role in the AfDB’s efforts to help African economies withstand the impact of the global economic crisis.
In January 2010, Kasekende was re-appointed Deputy Governor of BoU, to serve for the next five years.
Kasekende is married to Edith Kasekende, and together are the parents of three children. He has written extensively on a wide range of economic subjects and his work has been widely published in journals and books.
The down of Kasekende relates to numerous complaints about the closure of seven commercial banks by BoU between 1993 and October 2016. The banks closed and now defunct include; Teefe Trust Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank Uganda and Crane Bank Limited (CBL).
His downfall can also easily be associated with his close association with the former Executive Directive in charge of Supervision Justine Bagyenda. The two planned and plotted together and no wonder it is during their time that most commercial banks closed and have almost fallen exited together at BoU in a similar manner.
To verify complaints against BoU by owners of defunct banks, Vide letter Ref:AB:70/2gg/01 dated 28th November, 2017, parliament’s committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) requested the Auditor General to undertake a special audit on the closure of commercial banks by BoU. The Auditor General’s findings would tarnish the image and reputation of Kasekende and other top BoU officials, including the Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.
Kasekende angered the Auditor General and COSASE when he tried to block the probe of BoU over the closed banks arguing there was a related case in court which would make the investigation subjudice and as such could not cooperate with the Auditor General John Muwanga. However Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga insisted that Muwanga does his investigation job as it did not in any way violate the subjudice rule.
Kasekende and other top officials bowed to Kadaga’s instructions and allowed Muwanga, the Auditor General to do his job of probing BoU. However, it would later then turn out that BoU officials didn’t give Muwanga’s team full cooperation as they intentionally declined to provide vital documents for the audit. Muwanga would note the complaint in his August, 2018 report to parliament.
When COSASE began probing BoU over Muwanga’s report in late October 2018, the officials led by Kasekende would appear without the same documents which forced the MPs to send the team away. It was the shock of the nation that BoU officials led by Kasekende would appear in parliament unprepared. Kasekende at the rest of the BoU senior would later turn up with some documents they had intentionally left behind to conceal evidence on irregular closure of banks by way of not following the processes and guidelines.
In 2019, President Yoweri Museveni set up the Presidential Tripartite Committee to investigate BoU after the Governor , Professor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile issued an internal memo that affected several staff leading to a standoff with the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Justice Irene Mulyagonja. During the investigation the committee was told by some of the senior staff interviewed that Kasekende as his boss Tumusiime Mutebile each official had his clique of staff, which affected the smooth running of the institution.
Leaked documents of Kasekende’s wealth
Leaked documents of Kasekende’s wealth in terms of properties and cash on bank accounts shocked the nation to the extent that some politicians and senior government officials wondered how the banker accumulated the wealth. Analysts say this part of the reasons why the appointing authority is reluctant to extend Kasekende’s contract at BoU, more so that the bank’s top officials have issues with the accountability of taxpayers’ money.
Failure to account for Shs478b
During the COSASE probe Kasekende and others failed to account for Shs478 billion they claim to have injected into Crane Bank in Receivership yet BoU wanted shareholders of defunct CBL to pay back BoU the money. MPs saw this as unfair since it is BoU which lend itself the money and failed to account for it, as some documents like ledgers were missing.
Kasekende would later want the Auditor General to do the second audit of Shs478 billion but the latter declined.
“Regrettably, I am unable to undertake the verification since the report has been issued to the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament on February 18, 2018. Any additional verification on the already issued report can only be undertaken with the authority of parliament. We will keep the documents and wait for further communication from COSASE” read Mr Muwanga’s letter.
Failure to supervise his juniors
During COASE probe it was clear that Kasekende failed to supervisor his juniors at BoU especially in the departments of commercial banking to the extent that Ben Sekabira while appearing before COSASE disagreed with Kasekende and others, saying that before CBL was closed it required about Shs250 billion to remain afloat much as the other group quoted Shs478 billion. The disagreement by BoU officials shocked Ugandans, who up now think that senior staff at BoU should be dismissed.
Kasekende also failed to supervise BoU legal department leading to the institution to hire conflicted lawyers in cases involving businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and Ruparelia Group of Companies. As such BoU stands to lose billions of shillings for hiring conflicted lawyers such as MMAKS Advocates, Sebalu & Lule Advocates and David Mpanga.
Kasekende tried without any success to have his contract renewed or extended. He first sent former Minister of Finance, Gerald Ssendaula and other clerics to meet President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura with a view of requesting him to extend it. Subsequently he turned to Mr. Keith Muhakanizi, the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija persuading them to prevail upon President Museveni to have his contract renewed but the two didn’t do much as they feared it would backfire.
However, with no response, Kasekende shifted his lobbying to a top Catholic prelate in Kampala but the presidency handlers refused to enlist him with Kasekende for a meeting because their agenda wasn’t clear. Towards the second week of January, he allegedly tried the Vice Presidency but it did not yield fruits before he was crafted by two city lawyers to have him meet the Kabaka of Buganda so as to use the royal family lobby for him but his contract came to an end before any of the schemes could yield fruits for him.
Below is Dr. Kasekende’s farewell Message to his colleagues at BoU.
As you already know, my contract as Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda came to an end on January 14, 2020. It has been a great honor to serve in the position of DG for the last 10 years. This is in addition to my first five year term in the same position that stretched over the period 1999 to 2006. I express my profound gratitude to the appointing authority, H.E. President Museveni, for according me the opportunity to serve the Bank, and to represent the country in various continental and international assignments.
I also thank the various Ministers of Finance, Governors and the Board of Directors of the Bank for the support over the many years I have served the Bank.
Last but not least, I would like to thank you all for the love and tremendous support during my employment with BoU. Excluding the years I was at the World Bank and the AfDB, I have spent close to thirty years in total with BoU, thus many of my colleagues have become friends.
As I reflect upon my time at the Bank, I am deeply grateful for all I have met. Serving our country is a worthwhile experience for all of us. We have jointly achieved a lot and should be proud of the tremendous progress for our Bank and our country.
I wish you all nothing but success for the future, and may God bless you all.
Louis Kasekende (PhD)