By Our Correspondent
DAILYNEWS UG |Parliament of Uganda|
The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is in now full throttle and moving!
The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises is mandated to examine the reports and audited accounts of Statutory Authorities, Corporations and Public Enterprises and in the context of their autonomy and efficiency, ascertain whether their operations are being managed in accordance with the required competence and where applicable, in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
The COSASE probe has now entered its 4th Week. The probe is looking into controversial takeover and sale of seven commercial banks by the Bank of Uganda and it has now taken a new dimension.
This was triggered after Afande Tito Opio, the Central Bank’s Head of Security told the MPs that CCTV cameras on February 11, 2018, caught the driver and bodyguard of Former Director of Supervision for Commercial banks, Justine Bagyenda, stealing vital documents.
Opio says that when he heard reports of files missing from the Central Bank, he instructed his team to review CCTV footage that revealed the duo stealing the documents in a car belonging the bank’s on-the-run ex-official.
“Yes we heard about the reports and when we checked the cameras, we saw a car belonging to madam Bagyenda carrying bags of documents out,” he testified.
Upon further questioning, Opio revealed that the stolen files which were in three bags were later returned although less by one bag and when Bagyenda was queried, she said that they contained items she had bought from overseas where she has reportedly travelled.
“By the time we got the search warrant, she had travelled so when she returned at about 3 pm, the files were returned at 6:00 PM to her office. When asked what they were bringing, they said it was what she had brought from abroad,” Opio added.
MPs got concerned as in what form they were returned considering that several documents pertaining to the sale of Teffe Bank, Greenland Bank, Crane Bank among other banks have all turned out to be missing.
Above: Crane Bank Sale documents vanished and are no where to be seen
This prompted the committee chairman, Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu to summon the duo together with their boss on Thursday at 10:30 am, failure of which, he will issue arrest warrants against them.
The BoU probe has yet to yield any fruits because the relevant documents, vital to the investigation have all turned out to be missing from the Central Bank’s offers.
Bagyenda who fled the country on Friday last week under the guise of attending a Trauma Conference in Texas, USA, is the only lead to retrieving the missing documents but with a cloud of doubt covering her appearance on the said date, the committee’s progress hands in balance.
On November 23, Bagyenda was also supposed to appear before the MPs probing into closure of seven commercial banks, but she instead flew out of the country.
Cosase chairperson, Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri County MP) issued fresh summons telling her to appear on Tuesday (November 27) without fail or face arrest.
Bagyenda instead wrote back to Katuntu saying she won’t be able to appear before the committee today because she is still out of the county on a personal business trip until December 13.
In a November 23 letter quoted by DailyNewsUG, Bagyenda writes: “Hon. Sir, the current engagement (which is an international summit) I am on was planned long before the Governor’s communication and it is core to my private life. On account of my said engagement and the fact that my air ticket is restricted, I strongly regret my inability to appear before the COSASE on Tuesday November 27, 2018.”
“My scheduled date of return is December 13, 2018. However, I am working with the airline to get a quick alternative using my restricted ticket.”
She went on: “With regard to the fact that I did not state in my letter the date of my return, kindly note that I did it on purpose because of security reasons and the relevant security agencies are aware of my security concerns.”
Bagyenda and another former BoU director for supervision, Margaret Matovu, told the committee that they handed over progressive reports on three closed commercial banks [Cooperative Bank, International Credit Bank and Greenland Bank] to Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile.
Mutebile denied receiving the reports. Bagyenda is also wanted to explain the sale of Crane Bank to dfcu at Shs200b.