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Bank Of Uganda Officials Grilled Over Billions Spent On Private Lawyers

Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials were Tuesday quizzed on why the Central Bank continues to pay billions of tax payers’ money to external lawyers despite having a legal department with one of the best lawyers in the country.

The officials led by BoU Deputy Governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende had appeared before the Parliamentary Committee of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to answer audit queries in the Auditor General’s report. The AG questioned billions BoU was paying to private lawyers.

The queries followed an internal audit investigation that exposed BoU’s legal department, with errors found in the Bank’s contracts.

It was also discovered that despite the fact that BoU had engaged external lawyers, there were no terms of engagements.

It was revealed during the Committee proceedings that BoU paid out Shs61M in 2013/2014 to external lawyers before the figure increasing to Shs681M in 2014/15.

In 2016/2017, Shs398M was reported to have been spent by June 2017.

Shockingly, BoU officials admitted to have paid out Shs1.44bn by September 15th 2017.

These revelations angered MPs, who questioned the relevancy of BoU’s legal department.

COSASE Chairman, Abdu Katuntu tasked BoU to reveal if they issued any public notice on the amount of money spent on the Court case involving the Central Bank (Crane Bank in receivership) and businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

Margaret Kasule, Legal Counsel at BoU declined to reveal the amount so far spent, arguing that it would jeopardize the merits of the case under mediation at High Court-Commercial Division.

“When we were coming for this meeting, we didn’t prepare anything to do with Crane Bank,” she said.

This didn’t go down well with Katuntu.

“I just want to know how much money BoU has spent. Is it that you aren’t hiring qualified lawyers or can’t train them and are doing clerical work? You need to hire lawyers who are well experienced, then train them,” he said, giving BoU officials a torrid time.

 

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