Mrs. Justine Bagyenda, the former Director for Bank supervision at Bank of Uganda (BoU) has been given until Thursday 29 November 2018, to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) or face arrest.
Mrs. Bagyenda is wanted by COSASE over the closure of 7 banks by the Central Bank, between 1993 and 2016. They are; Greenland Bank, Uganda Cooperative Bank (UCB), International Credit Bank (ICB), Crane Bank, Global Trust Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Teffe Bank.
The Committee has requested liquidation reports for the 7 Banks, but to date, the comprehensive reports have not been submitted by the Central Bank.
While appearing before the Committee on 19 November 2018, Central Bank Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile said that his staff did not furnish him with the liquidation reports.
The appointed liquidator, Mr. Benedict Ssekabira said he had handed the reports to his then line supervisors, Mrs. Justine Bagyenda, Mrs. Margaret Matovu and Mr. Apollo Obbo who supervised the sale of the assets of the defunct banks, at the time.
The trio were ordered to appear before COSASE to explain the whereabouts of the reports.
On 22 November 2018, the liquidation reports submitted by BoU were rejected by COSASE on the advice of the auditors. The auditors said the reports were lacking in several aspects and therefore did not pass as liquidation reports.
Hon. Abdu Katuntu, the chairman of COSASE gave the team until 23 November 2018, to provide substantive reports for Greenland Bank. These would form the basis for appraisal of the liquidation process for other defunct banks; Uganda Cooperative Bank and International Credit Bank.
However, on 23 November, Mrs. Bagyenda did not appear before the Committee. She explained in a letter, that she had travelled abroad, on a private business trip which had been planned before COSASE issued the first summon. She also stated that she had not found it necessary to attend the session on 23 November 2018 because she had not received fresh summons to that effect.
This forced Hon. Katuntu to adjourn the meeting to 27 November 2018. He issued fresh summons for Mrs. Bagyenda, for the same date. Again, Mrs. Bagyenda was absent.
She was represented by her lawyer, who read her letter to the Committtee.
In the letter, the former Director, Bank supervision maintained that she was away on a private business trip which was planned before she was summoned by COSASE. She said her air ticket was restricted to her scheduled date of return, 13 December 2018.
Members of Parliament were enraged by Mrs. Bagyenda’s behavior. They recommended that a warrant for her arrest be issued and other BoU officials facing the Committee be compelled to hand over their travel documents to Parliament.
Hon. Katuntu extended Mrs. Bagyenda’s summons to 29 November 2018. He said that if she dishonours the summons a warrant will be issued for her arrest.
“We will give Mrs. Bagyenda an extension of the summon to Thursday, the day after tomorrow. But the warrant of arrest is automatically issued if Mrs. Bagyenda does not appear on Thursday,” Hon. Katuntu said.
“I would like the police to ascertain where Mrs. Bagyenda is because as we talk she could be in Nairobi and I need that report by close of business today. After Thursday, if it is found out that Mrs. Bagyenda is in Nairobi and not in the US, the warrant of arrest is automatically issued,” he. added.
COSASE has also learnt that some documents were taken out of the central bank in March 2018, on the instructions of Mrs. Bagyenda.
While appearing before the Committee, BoU Head of Security, Mr. Milton Opio Orech confirmed that security footage shows officers loading 3 bags of documents into Mrs. Bagyenda’s car, on 13 March 2018.
Mr. Orech also mentioned that whereas 3 bags of documents were taken, Mrs. Bagyenda had only returned 2.
During the session, Hon. Katuntu also slammed Prof. Mutebile for disseminating the contents of a confidential letter via social media. The letter was addressed to Hon. Katuntu but he has not received it yet it is on social media. It states that the Governor forwarded confidential documents to the chairman.
“It is very disappointing that you write to me and before I receive the letter which is supposed to be forwarding confidential documents, it is on social media,” Hon. Katuntu said to Prof. Mutebile.
Prof. Mutebile apologized for the mishap. He said the letter had not been intended for dispatch yet. He reassured the Committee that investigations have been instituted into the matter.