A section of youths under the Youth Power Research Uganda have petitioned Abdu Katuntu, the Chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), asking his Committee to ensure that Finance Minister Matia Kasaija revokes the reappointment of Justine Bagyenda, the former Executive Director in charge of banks supervision at Bank of Uganda to Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) as a board member.
“..We would like to request the COSASE Committee to summon the Minister of Finance to explain the circumstances under which they [re] appointed Ms Justine Bagyenda, a former Director Supervision at Bank of Uganda who is under investigation by the same agency, Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and Inspectorate of Government for matters related to miss management (sic) or foul play which led to the dissolution of three banks in a short span of less than six months (it is less than six years-editor) while still working in BoU, which cost many of our youths their jobs and financial inclusion hence hampering the growth of the economy,” the letter dated July23, 2018 reads in part.
In a May 7, 2018 letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Kasaija re-appointed Bagyenda to the FIA board even as she was under investigation by the same body.
Bagyenda is also under a separate investigation by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) over allegations of reported accumulation of wealth, while a motion demanding that a Select Committee be set up to investigate the operations of Bank of Uganda and her role in the closure of Crane Bank is still on the Order Paper.
Kasaija also re-appointed Leo Kibirango as Board Chairman, Patrick Ocaillap as Deputy Secretary, AIGP Grace Akullo and Patricia Mutesi to FIA board.
“Under Section 26(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, members of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) board serve for a term of three years and are eligible to be re-appointed for only one term. Given the satisfactory performance of the Board during its first tenure, I recommend the re-appointment of the current members of the Board,” reads Kasaija’s letter.
However, Kasaija told journalists last week that he was working on deadline to have the new Board in place, but since she is under investigations, the appointment can be halted until she is cleared by the two investigating bodies, Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and FIA).
He claimed that he made the appointment before IGG and FIA investigations began and that there is still ‘room for correction’.
“When I re-appointed her, the issues of money laundering and others were not yet in the press. There is no way I could have re-appointed her with question marks surrounding her integrity,” Kasaija said.
But when it was put to him that by May 7, it was public knowledge that Ms Bagyenda was under probe, Kasaija asked for another day to crosscheck. “I do not want to commit myself on something I am not sure of, I need to crosscheck,” Kasaija said.
Bagyenda’s tenure at BoU came to an unceremonious after her name featured prominently in the controversial collapse of Crane Bank.