Former Bank of Uganda Executive Director-Supervision, Justine Bagyenda has informed the Parliamentary Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that she will no longer be appearing before the Committee since she is flying out of Uganda.
COSASE is currently probing Central Bank officials over the controversial closure of seven banks.
“This is to inform you that I will be out of the country from the evening of November 22nd November 2018, to attend to some engagements which have confirmed before receipt of your letter Ref.Gov.902 dated 19/11/2018 regarding COSASE meetings,” Bagyenda said in a letter addressed to Abdu Katuntu, the COSASE Chairperson.
It was also copied to BoU Deputy Governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende.
However, Bagyenda’s letter fell short of revealing the country she is going to. The letter also didn’t give details on when she is expected back into the country to face the probe.
Recently, BoU Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile revealed that some officials at the Central Bank including Bagyenda kept some reports regarding the closure of seven banks from him.
It was against the above background that the Committee summoned her to answer several queries considering the fact that she was in charge of supervising commercial banks for a long time.
This site couldn’t independently verify whether she has already left the country. However, a few months ago, she refused to appear before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on grounds that she was out of the country although records later showed that she was in the country. She was due to be vetted for her reappointment as a member on Financial Intelligence Authority Board. She has since been dropped.
It should be noted that on 28th November 2017, COSASE requested the Auditor General to undertake a special audit on the closure of all Commercial banks by the Central Bank.
After seven months, the special audit report came out, revealing how BoU controversially closed some of the banks.
The seven banks in question include Teefe Bank, International Credit Bank Limited, Greenland Bank, Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce (NBC), Global Trust Bank and the most recent Crane Bank Limited.
Commenting about the development, COSASE Chairperson Abdu Katuntu said: “I would have preferred to invoke powers for purposes of warrant of arrest which we do have. However, let us be conscious that there is always the first offence. This meeting is going to resume on Tuesday, summons issued to Bagyenda, if she doesn’t appear on Tuesday, we will be left with no option but issue warrant of arrest.”
While issuing out the directives, Katuntu said this was aimed at sending a lesson to other civil servants as well as protect the integrity of both the Committee and Parliament.
“If she doesn’t appear, an arrest warrant will automatically follow. Police, may you supply this Committee with details of Bagyenda travel as declared at immigrations,” he added.
Former Works Minister, Abraham Byandala said there was no way the Committee was going to accept people to abuse rules of Parliament as well as the Constitution, adding that Police has to be notified of Bagyenda’s fleeing, warning that if this isn’t done, then Parliament risks creating more defiant figures like Bagyenda at Uganda’s Central Bank.
Vincent Woboya (Budadiri East MP) said that there is need to have Bagyenda produced before Parliament because there is a possibility she sneaked out with some documents and therefore, there is need to have these documents searched for and brought to Parliament.