The 7th February 2018 decision by the Bank of Uganda (BoU) Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile to reshuffle staff has opened a Pandora’s Box, exposing rot at Uganda’s Central Bank.
In a 7th February 2018 internal memo, Mutebile communicated a number of internal staff transfers, promotions and appointments from outside the Bank. During the reshuffle, Justine Bagyenda, the then Executive Director Supervision was retired for reportedly failing to execute her supervisory role.
The Governor communicated promotion of 12 staff at the Bank. Out of 12 staff promoted, nine were elevated from the rank of Senior Principal Banking Officer to the rank of Assistant Director.
Two staff ere elevated to the rank of Director and one staff elevated to the position of the Executive Director.
Those promoted were; Joyce Lanyero Okello, Executive Director/Personal Assistant Governor, Charity Balaba Mugumya, Director Communications Department, Hannington Wasswa, Director Commercial Banking Department, Vito Melvin Semakula, Assistant Director IT Security and Compliance, James Mbanda Byamukama, Assistant Director IT Operations, Alan Norman Lwetabe, Assistant Director Reserves and Investment (Financial Markets Authority), Gimei Katongole Kaliisa, Assistant Director Operations Accounts Department, Cynthia Nakayiza, Assistant Director Operations Banking Department, Sophia Kironde Iwumbe, Assistant Director On-site Inspection Commercial Banking Department, Oscar Kiiza, Assistant Director Pension Administration and Financial Reporting, Bosco Bainamazima, Assistant Director BoU Fort Portal Branch and Francis Kakeeto, Assistant Director BoU Mbale Branch (one charged with corruption and abuse of office in BoU Currency scandal).
The five recruited outside the Bank are Dr. Twinemanzi Tumubweine, the Executive Director Supervision, Valentine Ojangole, Director Banking, Edward Mugerwa, Director IT Operations Department and Dr. Natamba Bazinzi, Assistant Director Currency Administration in Currency Department and Ruth Kande Sabiiti, Procurement Assurance Manager (Dirctor).
However, a number of Bank of Uganda senior staff were not satisfied with the whole process of staff transfers, promotions and appointments. Some went ahead to petition the Inspector General of Government (IGG) and other relevant bodies.
In the process, President Yoweri Museveni set up a select Committee to investigate the issues raised and report back to him.
The Report of the Presidential Tripartite Committee Investigating the Bank of Uganda was out in February this year and has revealed the shocking rot at Uganda’s Central Bank.
The 10-member Committee was headed by Abdu Katuntu as Chairperson and had members like IGG Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja and Keith Muhakanizi (BoU Board Member) among others.
According to the report obtained by Business Focus, Mutebile’s 7th February action has escalated divisions within BoU so much that some staff are either loyal to the Governor or his Deputy Dr Louis Kasekende rather than the institution.
What is more shocking is that all the five appointments were recruited in total regard of the law. They were apparently ‘personally’ recruited by the Governor without any consultation.
The report reveals that almost all the five staff recruited outside the Bank didn’t meet the required minimum academic qualifications.
For example, Ruth Kande Sabiiti had a Pass degree with no Honours.
According to the report, she is a holder of one degree ; a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (Economics and Political Science) obtained in 1996 from Makerere University in Kampala.
“It was determined from her degree transcript that she held a basic Pass degree with no Honours for normal recruitment and that of Lower Second Honours for recruitment under exception circumstances,” the report reads in part.
Dr Tumubweine also got a Pass degree in his first degree and therefore didn’t quality to join BoU.
“When Dr. Tumubweine’s academic qualifications were considered alongside the prescribed requirements stipulated by policy in the Administration Manual, it was established that his first degree was a Pass degree,” the report reads in part, adding: “It therefore fell below the standard requirement of 1st class or second Upper Honours and also below the standard set for exceptional circumstances which is lower Second Honours Degree. It is also pertinent to note that Dr. Twinemanzi lacked experience in commercial banking as stipulated in the job description for the Executive Director Supervision. There was no mention of any working experience relevant to commercial banking in his personal records at the Bank.”
The report adds that contrary to the explanation of the Governor, the procedure that he adopted in the recruitment of five staff from outside the Bank was completely inconsistent with the Bank policy on headhunting and bore no resemblance to any other recruitment process provided in the manual.
“All five staff externally recruited by the Governor were therefore recruited outside of the known policies and procedures for recruitment at the Bank. It adds: “In all the cases for the externally recruited staff, there was no indication of acknowledgement of receipt of any of their applications by the Bank. As such, it was impossible to determine when and how exactly the applications were submitted to the Bank,” the report says.
It adds: “Dr. Twinemanzi and Ms Ruth Kande Sabiiti did not qualify for normal entry into the Bank for lack of the basic academic requirement of First Class degree or Upper Second degree contrary to section 220.127.116.11.1.”
Deep Rooted Divisions
The Governor defended the creation of new staff positions in BoU structure as being consistent with Section 4.2.2 of the Human Resource Policy of the Bank.
Mutebile explained that he approved the creation of five new positions to improve efficiency and enhance internal controls of the Bank.
He also defended the promotion of nine staff without subjecting them to interviews on grounds that a previous promotions process had been faulted by Internal Audit.
However, the report says, this was done illegally but most importantly he never consulted his colleagues.
“… it was established that two staff had participated in promotions exercise which had previously been cancelled,” the report says, adding: “It was established that nine staff had been promoted from Senior Principal Banking Officer to Assistant Director without going through any form of interview.”
The report shows that Senior Managers in the Administrant Directorate whom were interviewed by the Committee denied involvement in the preparation or awareness of the transfers, promotions and appointments made in the memo of 7th February 2018.
It should be noted that in all the cases of promotion, the Governor communicated the promotions in unequivocal terms to the concerned officers meaning that they took immediate effect without recourse to any further procedures.
The Senior Managers said they couldn’t advise the Governor because they deemed his communication final.
“None of the current board members were aware of the Governor’s decision prior to the communication made on 7th February 2018,” says the report.
One of the Board Members told the Committee: “…the Governor had acted in violation of the Bank of Uganda Act when he acted unilaterally to recruit new members of staff. There was also concern that the Governor had irregularly transferred the Chief Internal Auditor which was a preserve of the Audit and Governance Committee of the Board.”
The report adds that the majority of senior staff members tended to agree that there were factions or cliques in the Bank polarized around positions of the Governor and the Deputy Governor.
As concerns the existence of cliques, one staff went further to characterize the cliques as potentially religious based.
“There is a risk of divisions according to religion in that Bank. Catholics and Anglicans have their own groups. They have meetings and each has its own power,” one of the senior BoU staff told the Committee.
The report adds that all BoU staff interviewed indicated that the changes made by the Governor were a complete surprise.
“The staff indicated a loss of confidence on account of unclear implementation or disregard of human resource policies especially with regard to succession. It was felt that policy is applied selectively,” the report says, adding that the cliques are deeper rooted and existed even before the Governor’s decision of 7th February 2018.
This wasn’t the first time the Bank was recruiting staff illegally.
The Committee received evidence of at least 74 staff either initiated or approved by the Governor or the Deputy Governor from January 2010 to March 2018.
However, the Governor specifically told the Committee that the Bank had headhunted 200 officers and 445 support staff.
“The risk behind disregarding procedures is that it introduces an element of uncertainty among staff about the relevance of processes and leads to suspicion about human resource related decisions being based in factors such as tribe or religion rather than merit,” says the report.