By Andrew Irumba
Parliament: The parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), which is investigating Bank of Uganda (BoU) over the controversial closure of seven commercial banks, resumed work on Monday with meeting former shareholders of one of the closed banks, National Bank of Commerce (NBC).
The Committee, still chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu and deputized by Anita Among tasked former NBC shareholders; John Patrick Amama Mbabazi (former Prime minister), business man Amos Nzeyi, Mathew Rukikaire (former minister for privatization) and Justice George Kanyeihamba (retired supreme court judge) to explain the circumstances under which their bank was closed.
Amama Mbabazi, when asked to explain, accused Ms.Justine Bagyenda, the former supervisor of commercial banks of not following the law in the process of closing their bank which was not undercapitalized.
Mbabazi said the manner in which the Bank was closed was unfair and not transparent.
“When they were in the process of closing the bank, after they seized it with security operatives, I called Gen,Kayihura who was the IGP then, I told him, ‘Kale, this is happening at NBC, are you aware?’ he said,no, I told him, please follow it up and let me know, and if it’s a robbery, please take action. He neither came back to me nor did the actions at the bank stop,” Mbabazi, who was [super] prime Minister then confessed to the amusement of the committee members.
For this and other actions, according to the former shareholders of NBC they are demanding a compensation of over Shs290B from the bank of Uganda for losses incurred!
The shareholders said they could have saved their bank but they accused Ms.Bagyenda of being hell bent on closing the bank and selling it off yet it was not undercapitalized.
According to the shareholders, Bank of Uganda had told them that their bank was undercapitalized and that they were required to recapitalize it with shs7b within seven days. They claim to have raised the money in four days. But despite this, the bank was seized off and sold within one day!
“The bank of Uganda therefore shouldn’t have chosen the drastic decision of closure even having raised the amount of money they had asked for. This points to the ulterior motive, that they had their own other intentions for closing the bank, and for that, we demand Shs290B in compensation for the losses that we incurred,” Mathew Rukikaire, one of the former shareholders told the committee.
The committee continues tomorrow with meeting other shareholders of closed banks including Crane Bank’s Sudhir Ruparelia, Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999) and Global Trust Bank (2014).
Mbabazi is not the first person to accuse Ms.Bagyenda for misusing her powers in closure of Banks, COSASE committee members and its Chairman Abdul katuntu last month accused the former Executive Director in-charge commercial Banks of usurping the powers of the legal department of the bank after discovering that she took over the drafting of the terms of engagement between Bank of Uganda (BoU)and MMAKS which documents could not be traced by the committee. “You [Bagyenda] carried out functions and mandate which were not yours. I see so many illogical things which were happening at BoU, so many strange things,” Mr Katuntu fumed.
Katuntu ruled that Governor prof.Emanuel Tumusiime Mutebile would appear and explain the process that led to the drafting of the terms of engagement between BoU and MMAKS Advocates to handle the disputes triggered by the closure of Crane Bank.