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Troubled Bagyenda Dodges Parliament Vetting As Pressure Mounts

Troubled former Executive Director-Supervision at Bank of Uganda, Justine Bagyenda Monday failed to show up before Parliament’s Appointments Committee for vetting following her proposed reappointment to the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Board as member.

According to a letter dated September 12, 2018 authored by the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige to MPs on the Appointments Committee, Bagyenda was supposed to appear before the Committee today at 11:40pm.

The Parliamentary Committee on Appointments is responsible for approving, on behalf of Parliament, the appointments of persons nominated by the President under the Constitution or any other appointment required to be approved by Parliament under any other law.

However, the irony lady didn’t turn up following a tirade of criticism from members of the public including MPs.

It should be noted that Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija on 7th May 2018 wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga recommending the reappointment of Bagyenda to serve a second term as a member on the FIA board yet she was and still is at centre of controversies and investigations regarding her alleged illicit wealth.

Ugandans including MPs were shocked by the news of Bagyenda’s proposed reappointment to FIA board, wondering whether the Finance Minister follows events in the country keenly.

Those against Bagyenda’s reappointment quote Section 25(1)(b) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2013 that talks of the caliber of FIA board members;“…four members of high moral character and proven integrity with substantial experience in either law, finance, criminal investigations, or any other relevant experience.’

When news of her appointment to the Authority was made public, some MPs attempted to block her appointment arguing that she isn’t fit to go after those implicated in money laundering, given her history in the same crimes.

Bagyenda’s appointment came at the time when the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja was conducting investigations into her wealth after questions arose how she accumulated over Shs20bn in a period of six years.

Early this year, Bagyenda’s transaction records leaked that detailed how she accumulated Shs20bn within six years with most of her bank accounts reflecting a zero balance and disclosed sources of funds.

Speaker Petitioned

In a related development, one Humphrey Masiko today petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, explaining why Parliament should block Bagyenda’s re-appointment to FIA board.

He said Bagyenda is under a “multiplicity of investigations by a number of agencies which include, The Inspectorate of Government (IGG), Uganda Revenue Authority and FIA itself.”

He added that the investigations are related to illicit enrichment, money laundering and tax evasion among other allegations.

The petitioner added that the recent Auditor General’s report on seven defunct banks show that Bagyenda had a key role as Executive Director in charge of Supervision.

“That the said allegations against her are so grave and criminal in nature and therefore she cannot  be seen to be fit and proper person with impeccable character to oversee the statutory body in charge of  Anti-Money laundering activities whereof she is being investigated for the same,” the petitioner says.

 

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