Legislators have punched holes in the recommendations in the Central Bank Probe report, describing them as wanting. The recommendations are part of the report compiled by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises- COSASE following investigations into the closure of seven commercial banks issued on Thursday last week.
The investigations were prompted the 2017 forensic audit report by Auditor General, John Muwanga, which pointed out irregular operations in the Central Bank and the controversial closure and sale of the Commercial banks. The affected banks that were closed between 1993 and 2016 include Teefe Trust Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd, Greenland Bank, Uganda Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank Ltd.
In its report, COSASE observed that the Central Bank committed a number of irregularities in the closure of the banks including the absence of inventory reports, minutes, lapse in the security at the Central Bank that could have led to the theft of vital documents, sale of assets at a discount and lack of liquidation reports among others.
Despite unmasking the irregularities, the Committee failed short of naming those responsible for the irregularities but goes ahead to recommend those culpable should be held to account. As debate on the report ensued on Tuesday, legislators across the political divide questioned why the report failed short of singling out the culprits with some calling for separate investigations into the report writing process.
The Health State Minister, Sarah Opendi noted that although the report points out severe irregularities in the closure of the defunct banks like the absence of inventory reports, the recommendations are not biting.
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Opendi also questioned why COSASE didn't it find it important to name those responsible for the mismanagement of the loan portfolios of the defunct banks especially directors of companies that bought the loans.
COSASE established that loan portfolios of International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Co-operative Bank worth Shillings 135 billion were sold off to Nile River Acquisition Company at 93% discount, which the committee said was incredibly outrageous.
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The Ngora County MP, David Abala agreed with Opendi saying all implicated officials must be named and punished.
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The Ajuri County MP, Hamson Obua volunteered to name the officials who featured prominently during the investigations as some of the people responsible for the irregularities. He cited the former Executive Director Supervision, Justine Bagyenda, the Director Financial Markets Development Coordination, Benedict Sekabira, the Legal Counsel, Margaret Kasule and Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende.
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Loy Katali, the Jinja Woman MP supported Obua on the proposal to separate roles of the Central Bank Board and the executive saying that the current arrange doesn't encourage accountability.
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The Kasambya County MP, Mbwatekamwa Gaffa demanded that the Bank of Uganda board member be dismissed immediately and other officials like Governor Emmanuel Tumusime Mutebile and his Deputy, Louis Kasekende be sacked for the irregularities in the closure of the defunct banks.
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Godfrey Watenga Nabutanyi, the Lutseshe County MP, said there is need for parliament to investigate the COSASE report writing process, arguing that what appears in the report is different from what transpired during the probe.
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The Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga appealed to his colleagues to discuss the report with calm, saying they glossing over serious commissions and omissions by being emotional.
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The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said t parliament was to debate the report for two days before making resolutions and streamlining the recommendations made by COSASE.
She summoned the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to appear before parliament on Wednesday so that the resolutions of parliament are taken care of.