Mutebile, BOU staff trade accusations before MPs

As Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) entered into the third week of probing the irregular closure of commercial banks, Bank of Uganda (BOU) Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile lost his cool before the committee as he accused his juniors of shielding key information from him.

Mutebile who appeared along with other BOU staff including his deputy Louis Kasekende were answering questions on the closure of International Credit Bank (ICB) Ltd, Greenland Bank and Co-operative Bank when he took on the Coordinator Financial Markets and Development Coordinator Bernard Ssekabira, wondering why there is some information he kept away from him.

Ssekabira had told the committee that the audit firm, KPMG that was hired to handle the process had filed a single report to the Central Bank in September 2001.

This was after committee chairman Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) had inquired whether  Bank of Uganda had dedicated an internal person to oversee the liquidation exercise and if such reports had been handed over to the Governor.

Mutebile told the Committee that none of reports relating to the closure of the banks was brought to his attention, giving an impression that he had no knowledge of the liquidation process as information remained only in the possession of his juniors.

COSASE in session

Ssekabira retorted, telling the committee while it is true that the Governor never received the reports, he (Ssekabira) was under no obligation to furnish Mutebile with the reports because he was answerable to someone else below the Governor.

Disturbed, Mutebile demanded that Ssekabira names the people that he gave the reports to.

“Ssekabira has said he couldn’t refer reports to me because he was too far from me and he was reporting to somebody else and he didn’t say who it was and he didn’t say whether those reports reached me. I said I have never received reports from him, so who is this person who has been denying me reports?” Mutebile wondered.

Cornered, Ssekabira told the committee that they were quite many and could not remember all of them off head. On further prodding, he named the former Director Commercial Banks Supervision, Justine Bagyenda, Apollo Obbo and Margaret Matovu.

Bagyenda who was acrimoniously thrown out of her lucrative job at the Central Bank in February this year after the controversial closure of Crane Bank Ltd.

This forced Katuntu to issue summonses for the trio to appear before the committee on Thursday to explain why they never furnished the Governor Bank of Uganda with reports regarding the takeover of the financial institutions.

The ongoing Parliamentary probe is a result of a special audit by the Auditor General that pinned Bank of Uganda for irregularly closing seven commercial banks namely, Teefe Trust Bank Ltd, ICB, The Co-operative Bank, Greenland Bank, Gold Trust Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Crane Bank.