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BoU Tasked to Account for Money Paid to External Lawyers

The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises COSASE is investigating huge sums of money paid by the central bank to private lawyers. MMAKs Advocates, the law firm representing BoU in the Crane Bank closure case were paid 1.4 billion Shillings with an accrued balance of 15 billion Shillings.

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Parliament has demanded that Bank of Uganda (BoU) accounts for all monies paid to external lawyers since 2013.

The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is investigating huge sums of money paid by the central bank to private lawyers. MMAK's Advocates, the law firm representing BoU in the Crane Bank closure case were paid 1.4 billion Shillings with an accrued balance of 15 billion Shillings.

Now COSASE is demanding that BoU provides details of the total amount of money paid to private lawyers from 2013 looking at the case, amount of money and the roles of the private law firms. BoU contracted the firms to offer legal opinions, representation in courts of law, and processing land documents.

According to COSASE chairperson Abdu Katuntu, BoU has been hiring private lawyers at the expense of the internal lawyers that the central bank has employed. He says the bank has also failed to use the Attorney General who is the chief Government legal advisor.

Katuntu also stated that BoU has been paying lawyers and law firms irregularly even before having an agreement with them. He gave the bank up to Thursday this week to produce full accountability of all payments to law firms without any editing, adding that a legal and financial audit could be done.

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Kitgum Municipality MP Beatrice Anywar questioned the competence of the internal lawyers, and accused BoU of failing to employ its own workers. She said BoU was spending so much money on paying lawyers and yet they already have lawyers.

Louis Kasekende, BoU Deputy Governor explained that they have work overload the reason they involved external lawyers. He also says that seeking legal opinion doesn't mean his lawyers are incompetent. He said he would comply with the committee's demands on the full accountability for the past  five years to date.

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BOU employs nine lawyers in its legal department.