By Andrew Irumba
Parliament: COSASE was astonished on Tuesday to learn the bitter ‘fact’ [for now], that Timothy Masembe and his MMAKS Advocates chewed tax payers’ hard earned money totaling to shs4.2B in the sale of Crane Bank without any documentation or receipts, similar to my grandmother in the village selling her egg plants.
Masembe’s MMAKS Advocates were paid a whooping Shs.914, 272,722 for legal advice during CBL intervention, resolution and advice on the sale of CBL assets and assumption of liabilities, but all transactions pertaining their professional services they rendered to the bank were never documented, according to their explanation.
The firm would further be paid extra Shs3 billion as 5% commission monies recovered from CBL shareholders.
While meeting COSASE on Tuesday, MPs asked for records or minutes from the meetings between MMAKS Advocates and Bank of Uganda which culminated to disbursement of such monies to no avail.
Masembe told committee members that lawyers don’t take minutes of meetings and in any case, the minutes should have been recorded by the Bank of Uganda,if there was need.
“How can shs4.2bn of tax payers’ money be given for legal advice without any minutes? This is ridiculous,” MP Odonga Otto fumed.
COSASE Chairperson Hon.Abdu Katuntu also said he found it strange for a public institution to advance massive payments to a private law firm without any minutes for reference.
“We need minutes of such meetings with the Central Bank that show the kind of legal opinion that you gave to the Central Bank. As a public institution, how does one say this was a proper payment?” Katuntu said.
Neither Bank of Uganda nor Masembe produced documents showing their terms of reference in offering legal opinion in the sale of Crane Bank which was sold in record 432 minutes to dfcu at a credit of Shs.200billion.