By Andrew Irumba
President Yoweri Museveni has told his cabinet that he tried to restrain Bank of Uganda from closing Crane Bank Limited but they ignored his advice and rushed to close it.
Our Spy Uganda sources at state house that eavesdropped told us that Muzei got furious with them and left them (BoU officials) to face COSASE probe team without protection, because he told them not to close Crane Bank but they did not listen.
In a cabinet meeting on Monday that was chaired by himself, Mr Museveni is reported to have rejected pleas by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija to have the on-going inquiry in parliament halted.
Kasajia’s request was supported by government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankambirwa. However, as the debate was gaining momentum, the president chipped and said; “I advised those people (BoU) against closing Crane Bank, I even went on to suggest that we carry out a silent investigation and I went ahead to contact Abdu Katuntu who agreed with my suggestion but they refused and so let parliament do its work and let them face the music”.
President Museveni flatly refused to reign on COSASE so that they (BoU) are not exposed further, BoU claimed that the institution is sensitive and that its exposure will greatly impact on the economy.
When the Bank of Uganda (BoU) sold Crane Bank to dfcu Bank in January 2017, officials did not expect that they would be probed by parliament and so far, the Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile and his subordinates have been exposed by the Auditor General John Muwanga in his special audit report of BoU on seven defunct banks.
Mr. Muwanga in his report faulted BoU for selling off some of Crane Bank’s assets and liabilities when they had chance to revive it, most especially that BoU claimed to have spent Shs478.8 billion on the bank during its takeover. Muwanga in his report said he didn’t understand why BoU spent all that money on CBL and later sold it to DFCU Bank at Shs200 billion.
Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) is using Mr. Muwanga’s report to probe BoU top officials and so far they have been exposed as an institution that is disorganized in terms of writing reports, keeping documents and violation of its own operational procedures.
“I noted that BoU did not carry out a requisite valuation of assets and liabilities of the three defunct banks (GTB. NBC and CBL) resolved using the purchase and assumption arrangement at the time of signing the P&A. In absence of the valuation and or documented evaluation of alternatives and assumptions used, I could not establish how the terms for the transfer of assets and liabilities in the P&A were determined,” Muwanga’s report reads in part.
Among others COSASE is mandated to examine the reports and audited accounts of statutory authorities, corporations and public enterprises and in the context of their autonomy and efficiency, ascertain whether their operations are being managed in accordance with the required competence and where applicable, in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.
The last weeks have seen BoU officials fail to present reports and documents concerning the dale of Teefe Trust Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank and Cooperative Bank. The officials who should be the cream of the civil service in Uganda cannot even answer simple questions related to their work. They have presented unsigned documents which they call as official as if they don’t know that any document without a signature is useless in legal terms.
Sources say Museveni is happy with COSASE that has so far exposed BoU top officials. They have been exposed as workers who handle public matters in total disregard of the law. That is why they can’t find reports and other documents related to the sale of banks. That is why they cannot identify the whereabouts of some of the companies that they hired to do the jobs such as Kirkland & Associates and Nile River Acquisition Company.
They were again given up to Thursday this week to find the missing documents or the Chairman will proceed without it.