Out-bound COSASE Team authorised to Conclude BoU-Fraudulently Closed Banks Probe

By DailyNewsUG Reporter

In Summary

  • Mr Kasibante was appointed Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s committee on Statutory Enterprises (COSASE), however, the Speaker appointed him to Parliament’s appointment committee and therefore voided his appointment to COSASE.
  • The opposition has protested Mr Kasibante’s new appointment but the speaker is yet to respond.

The outgoing COSASE committee has been allowed to complete its investigation into the closure of commercial banks by the Bank of Uganda.

In a letter to the Parliamentary leadership on all sides, the Clerk to Parliament Ms Jane Kibirige says all standing committees must start their work except for the Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Enterprises (COSASE) which has until February 22 to conclude its investigation into the closure of commercial banks.

The investigation is still being led by the outgoing chairman Mr Abdu Katuntu after Speaker Kadaga agreed with the opposition to give him and his team more time to conclude the probe. Thereafter, COSASE will be led by Mr Mubarak Munyagwa.

This directive comes a week after members of the different committees were designated and amidst a standoff with the opposition over Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante’s position.

Mr Kasibante was appointed Vice Chairman of the Parliament’s committee on Statutory Enterprises (COSASE), however, the Speaker appointed him to Parliament’s appointment committee and therefore voided his appointment to COSASE.

The opposition has protested Mr Kasibante’s new appointment but the speaker is yet to respond.

Parliament on Thursday ran full page adverts in local dailies explaining the controversies surrounding the extension of the committee probing the rot in Bank of Uganda.

Unlike in the usual adverts which indicate the office behind the notice, for instance the Clerk to Parliament, this advert only carried the institution’s logo without mentioning the official who sanctioned it.

Through the notice, Parliament explained the circumstances behind the ongoing rift between the Opposition chief whip, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, and the Speaker’s office over the extension of the period for the Katuntu probe committee.

January 12th was supposed to mark the last day for Abdul Katuntu’s tenure as chairperson of the controversial parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises.

The committee is currently probing the closure of seven Ugandan commercial banks in what Ugandans have termed to be one of the complex project basing on what is emerging out of the Katuntu probe.

The committee’s investigation stems from the 2017 forensic Audit Report by the Auditor General on the closure of commercial banks.

The report highlights irregular operations at the Central Bank and the controversial closure and sale of commercial banks since 1993.

The banks include Teefe Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd, Greenland Bank, The Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank, and Crane Bank Ltd.

The report highlights, among others, unaccounted for money, missing land titles, disputed payments to external lawyers and customer loans that were inherited from the closed banks and sold at lower rates without justification.

The two and a half year term of the current committee led by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu and Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among expires today and they are expected to be replaced by Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa and Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante as chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively.

The two were earlier nominated by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, Mr Patrick Amuriat, as new leaders of the accountability committee but they could not take office as the tenure of the current leadership was still on.

The public notice from Parliament emerged after media reported that the Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga recently said Katuntu’s leadership would be extended to February 20, 2019 to allow the committee conclude their current work and report back to Parliament with its findings.

Kadaga explained that by changing the committee’s leadership now, it might jeopardise the conclusion of the bank probe.

Katuntu had earlier also noted that he was not sure that his committee would complete the task before the end of its tenure.

So, why is Parliament panicking over the Bank of Uganda probe? 
As the Cosase –BoU probe is ensuing; don’t we need another independent team to probe the operations of Cosase?

Why is focus only put on the chairperson and his deputy yet the committee is comprised of other members who are equally important in compiling of the final report?

Are Opposition political parties, which have the constitutional mandate to provide membership to these committees, taking them seriously?

What criterion is followed to appoint members who sit on these committees besides a member being close to the party leadership?

In the spirit of continuity, why should we speculate on whether the new committee chairperson and his deputy would not manage the completion of the BoU probe if provided with necessary support?

I believe Parliament needs to steer clear of this matter before some sections of Ugandans ask for another probe into Cosase operations.

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