Uganda: Speaker Kadaga to rule on fresh BoU inquiry

KAMPALA- The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga has the final say on whether the House committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities (Cosase) should re-open investigations into irregularities at Bank of Uganda (BoU) or not.

Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa has come under criticism from a some people and sections of MPs for pushing a fresh probe instead of pushing for the implementation of the existing Cosase report  on irregularities in the closure of 7 commercial banks.

Mr Munyagwa recently appointed Makindye East Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Ibrahim Kasozi, to head a sub-committee on the closed banks.

The Cosase report was presented by Mr Munyagwa’s predecessor, Mr Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County MP,   on February 21.

The report was adopted by the House with recommendations on the culprits and proposed a raft of reforms at Bank of Uganda.

Some MPs have vowed to block fresh investigations into BoU and called Mr Kasozi sub-committee “a conduit” designed to “sanitise the culprits” and help BoU officials “sneak accountability documents” to the office of Auditor General.

This accusation came after the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga rejected BoU accountability documents without clearance from Parliament.

The disputed documents sought to clear outstanding accountability queries on the expenditure of Shs478 billion injected in Crane Bank before it was sold to DFCU at Shs200 billion.

A section of people have also petitioned the Speaker and advised Mr Munyagwa to seek permission before reopening investigations into BoU and wondered why the committee would like to revisit a settled matter when the committee has backlog.

Obore speaks out

The Director for Communication and Public Affairs at Parliament, Mr Chris Obore on Wednesday said Speaker will use the rules of procedure to handle petitions in which concerned citizens are opposing a new probe into BoU.

Daily Monitor has learnt that two separate petitions were delivered to the Speaker’s Office arguing her to block Cosase from conducting fresh investigations into BoU’s sale of seven commercial banks.

The petitioners-Mr Michael Businge a resident of Nsambya a suburb of Kampala and Mr Sam Kakuru a student of Uganda Christian University argue that it would be a waste of taxpayer’s money on top of what they have called “suspicion of a syndicated move to put the responsible offices off the hook.”

In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr Obore assured the petitioners as well MPs who have questioned Mr Munyagwa’ s motive that their concerns will be answered by the Speaker in accordance to the Parliament Rules of Procedure.

“The committees do their work on behalf of Parliament and the Speaker supervises all committees. The Speaker will look at the merits in the petitions and the rules that guide Parliament to take a decision,” Mr Obore said.

Three months after Cosase concluded its probe into the closure of seven Commercial Banks by the Central Bank, Mr Munyagwa now seeks to reopen the investigations.

Last week, Cosase interfaced with BoU officials led by the Deputy Governor, Dr Louis Kasekende to respond to outstanding Auditor General’s queries but also demanded for accountability for the Shs478b which BoU claim was injected in Crane Bank Limited in 2017.

The petitioners have argued that the House Rules of Procedures do not give Cosase powers to re-examine its reports and accused MPs of creating a backlog.

“These exercises cost taxpayer’s money and must be performed lawfully. [We cannot keep repeating the same things uncles there is something MPs are not telling Ugandans..].

This is to request you to prevail on the said Committee not to spend state resources (money and time) on a re-examination which is outside its mandate” Mr Businge stated in his petition to Kadaga. The petition was officially received on Wednesday.

On the other hand, Mr Kakuru, another petitioner, argues that the direction being taken by the Committee amounts to “contempt of parliament” hence asking the Speaker to relieve Mr Munyagwa of his duties as Committee Chairperson.

He argues that the a select sub-committee headed by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi with instructions to hear the BoU officials in closed meetings which is questionable.

“The Sub-Committee headed by Hon Ibrahim Kasozi is ultra vires on grounds that it conducts its proceedings behind closed doors. The issues of banking sector (Central Bank) are of public/tax payer concern” he stated.

Over the weekend, Cosase member Mr Nathan Itungo Twesigye (Kashari North), however, defended the new probe saying they are interested in “knwoing the way DFCU bank is repaying the Shs478b to Bank of Uganda”.

Mr Twesigye who sits on the five-member select sub-committee of Cosace revealed that they are also investigating the whereabouts of the land titles being claimed by clients of the closed banks after they staked them for loans.

By Daily Monitor

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