MPs want an overhaul at Bank of Uganda

 

Members of Parliament have urged government to relieve the current Bank of Uganda (BoU) managers of their duties as a step towards saving the credibility of the central bank.

This was after the State Minister for Planning David Bahati presented to Parliament a statement in regard to the arrest and prosecution three senior Bank of Uganda staff on allegations of inclusion of unauthorised cargo on BoU chartered plane.

Francis Kakeeto, a branch manager at Mbale and Fred Wanyama were charged before the anti-corruption court with abuse of office before they were remanded to Luzira while the Executive Director Operations Dr Charles Malinga Akol was bonded at Shs 40 million.

In Parliament, Bahati repeated the narrative previously given by the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo that the prosecution of the BoU staff relates to the extra cargo that was on a chartered plane but not printing of extra currency.

“On April 27, the printed matter arrived at Entebbe International Airport. As expected, twenty (20) pallets destined for BOU were received, intact and well-sealed. However, the BOU team at the airport noticed five (5) extra cargo pallets on board the chartered plane,” Bahati told Parliament.

His statement however did not convince the lawmakers including his cabinet colleague Ruth Nankabirwa, the Government Chief Whip.

“We must know how long the investigations will take. I don’t know whether this Parliament can set time limits but at least we would know what was in the other pallets so that we are at rest. Nobody has come out to tell us what was in that other cargo and who are the owners,” Nankabirwa said.

Nankabirwa statements only served to increase calls from MPs for Parliament to push government to implement the governance recommendations that were passed following a probe on the operations of the central bank by Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).

Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri) who chaired the COSASE probe argued that what is need now is a structural overhaul at BOU.

“What is required at Bank of Uganda is a structural overhaul…there is a problem; when we did a probe, we were aware of the credibility of that institution and the economy. There are things we could not say the way we should have said them, we did that deliberately, and for that we even got a beating from some of our colleagues here,” Katuntu said.

Katuntu further told Parliament about the existence of two factions at Bank of Uganda one led by the Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other by the deputy governor Louis Kasekende.

The two groups, Katuntu said, are involved in a succession battle with each favouring certain people to take over some positions at the retirement of some office holders.