By Andrew Irumba
The speaker of Parliament has protested the manner in which the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irine Mulyagonja has decided to ‘interfere’ with the constitutional work of parliament, thereby ignoring the principle of separation of powers.
The speaker revealed this on Thursday morning while on Buganda Kingdom owned BBS Terefayina (TV) where she was launching a brand new local court programme titled; ‘Singa Abeera Gwe’ moderated by veteran journalist Sirajje Lubwama.
The speaker, without mincing words said; “I really think she (IGG) has gone far with BoU matter and now she is showing that she has side in the matter, but the parliament will continue with its job,” she charged.
The Speaker was responding to IGG Irene Mulyagonja’s letter she wrote to the Internal Security Organisation(ISO) Director Col.Kaka Bagyenda asking his office to investigate allegations that some MPs on the Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) received bribes during the probe to arm twist facts on ground.
Among those mentioned are COSASE chairperson Abdu Katuntu and his deputy, Anita Among. It also mentions Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa and Odonga Otto, the Aruu County MP.
The letter was tabled in parliament on Wednesday during debate on the COSASE report by Padyere County MP,Joshua Anywarach. Anywarch claimed that some people implicated in messy handling of the closure of the banks were trying to blackmail some members and had reached out to the IGG.
“Madam Speaker, we must not allow this, they are trying to pour cold water on the efforts of the committee,” Anywarach said.
In response, Speaker Kadaga said she had received the letter but protested that it violated the doctrine of separation of powers.
“I will give it to the Prime Minister but this is really a breach of a separation of powers,” she said.
The doctrine of separation of powers essentially means that in the course of doing their work, the three organs of government: legislature, judiciary and executive, must not interfere in the affairs of others.
COSASE last year started investigations into the sale and closure of seven banks including; Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) that was sold to dfcu in 2016, and the report was handed over last week to the speaker of parliament.
However, in a February 19 2019 letter to the Director General ISO, the IGG says her office received a complaint of allegations of misconduct by members of the committee while carrying out their probe into the sale of the seven banks.
Spy Uganda has now learnt that the complaint was actually lodged by some senior officials from BoU and has already been interpreted by many pundits as a continuation of the same abrasive fight between BoU officials and the probe committee of parliament.
Although the letter claims that Katuntu and Among are close associates of Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, who was the majority shareholder of Crane Bank which was sold to DFCU, It doesn’t mention whether or how this relationship influenced the findings of the committee which questioned the manner in which the bank was sold.
In her letter, the IGG claims that some legislators and members on COSASE committee received cash, prompting them to refuse to handover office despite expiry of their term of office.
The IGG’s letter also claims that the Bank of Uganda governor, Tumusiime Mutebile authorised payment of Shs400 million to Katuntu to enable COSASE carryout a bench-marking exercise with other central banks.
“The money was not declared by Katuntu and neither was it accounted for .This is one of the reasons the governor was allowed to pretend that he knew nothing about any closed banks, was never put on oath and not closely examined like other central bank officials,” the IGG noted.
The IGG said her office has decided to ask ISO to investigate the allegations because they are in a better position to do so.
The latest development comes at a time when the August House has started debating the Cosase report that faulted Bank of Uganda on flouting procedures while selling the said banks.