By Andrew Irumba
Parliament: Latest CCTV camera footage has placed former Bank of Uganda (BoU) Executive Director in charge of supervision Ms.Justine Bagyenda as prime suspect when they captured her live conducting ‘unusual’ business inside the Bank premises on a Sunday, instead of going to church to thank God for the gift of life and the wealth accumulated!
As if that wasn’t enough, Ms.Bagyenda, who enjoyed unrestricted access to the Bank 24/7 given her senior position at the Bank, also summoned Bank of Baroda Managing Director Ashrin Kumar and renowned city Lawyer Kanyererezi Masembe to her office for a special ‘project’ which was to be carried out on a ‘quiet’ Sunday, what type of project? that’s what the Katuntu led COSASE committee is still grappling with.
Now on Thursday, during the probe, BoU’s head of security tendered in video evidence by CCTV cameras placed in the Bank which showed that Ms.Bagyenda’s Sunday visitors (Ashrin and Masembe) entered BoU premises and exited without being checked, because Bagyenda sent her personal body guard to pick them from the gate. Infact, to show how special one of her guests was, it’s Bagyenda’s body guard Juliet Adikolet , who had been waiting at the gate that opened the other side door of the gate into the Bank in order to show the importance of the guest.
This incident has however been described as a blatant breach of the central bank security guidelines by the senior officer of Bagyenda’s calibre.
In defense, Ms.Bagyenda, who has been at the helm of the bank for 34 yrs surprised committee members when she said that she never knew of such security guidelines since she had never been provided with the security manual of the Bank.
All these revelations came out on Thursday as Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) was scrutinizing the CCTV footage to ascertain how the alleged lost BoU vital documents could have left the water tightly guarded central Bank.
Ms Bagyenda on Wednesday confirmed having carried out bags of documents from the central bank, but insisted that the items carried out were personal and included plaques she obtained during her banking career.
MPs were on Thursday astonished to watch Mr Masembe as identified by Ms Bagyenda’s bodyguard Juliet Adikolet sneak into the bank unchecked on a non-working day.
“My principal told me go and bring someone,” police officer Adikolet told MPs insisting that Ms Bagyenda should answer the questions.
The probe into Bank of Uganda’s stolen documents came after accusations that on 11 February 2018, Ms Bagyenda with the help of her bodyguard Juliet Adikolet and driver Dan Turyahabwe sneaked out bags of unknown items without passing through the security of the Bank.
MPs may now be forced to summon Mr Masembe and his MMAKS Advocates, a subject of controversy for his role in the controversial takeover and sale of Crane Bank to hear his side of the story. The Committee has already questioned the Shs 900 million paid to the law firm in the controversial sale of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank at a meagre Shs.200B, moreover on credit.
On November 28, 2016, BoU engaged MMAKS Advocates to provide transaction advice to take over CBL and the firm would on December 9, 2016, on behalf of BoU, invite 13 bidders to bid for the purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities of CBL.
Between 12th and 15th December 2016, BoU issued the Inventory report to 6 bidders after signing a confidential agreement with them to undertake due diligence on the assets and liabilities of CBL.
Subsequently, on 20th December 20, 2016, two bids were received and evaluated.
The costs to MMAKS are part of the Shs12 billion intervention costs BoU claims to have sunk in CBL during the takeover.
Lawyers of MMAKS are also directors of some commercial banks yet they do business with BoU which is their regulator.
The probe continues today Friday without Chairman Katuntu who delegated his deputy Anita Among to steer the committee.