MPS QUESTION COSASE CENTRAL BANK PROBE REPORT
Legislators have punched holes in the recommendations of Parliament’s Committee of Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises arising from its investigations into the Central Bank over the closure of seven commercial banks.
The recommendations are part of the report compiled by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises and presented to Parliament last week.
The investigations were prompted the 2017 forensic audit report by Auditor General, John Muwanga, which pointed out irregular operations at the Central Bank and the controversial closure and sale of the Commercial banks.
The banks which were closed between 1993 and 2016 include Teefe Trust Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd, Greenland Bank, Uganda Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank Ltd.
In its report, COSASE observed that the Central Bank committed a number of irregularities in the closure of the banks including the absence of inventory reports, minutes, lapse in security at the Central Bank that could have led to the theft of vital documents, sale of assets at a discount and lack of liquidation reports among others.
Despite these glaring irregularities, the Committee fell short of naming those responsible but recommends that those culpable should be held to account.
As debate on the report ensued on Tuesday, legislators across the political divide questioned why the report failed to single out the culprits with some legislators calling for separate investigations into the report writing process.
Health State Minister, Sarah Opendi noted that although the report points out severe irregularities in the closure of the defunct banks like the absence of inventory reports, the recommendations are not biting.
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Opendi also questioned why COSASE didn't it find it important to name those responsible for the mismanagement of the loan portfolios of the defunct banks especially directors of companies that bought the loans.
COSASE established that loan portfolios of International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Co-operative Bank worth Shillings 135 billion were sold off to Nile River Acquisition Company at 93% discount, which the committee said was incredibly outrageous.
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Ngora County MP David Abala agreed with Opendi saying all implicated officials must be named and punished.
Kasambya County MP Mbwatekamwa Gaffa demanded that the Bank of Uganda board be dismissed immediately and other officials like Governor Emmanuel TumusiIme Mutebile and his Deputy Louis Kasekende be sacked for the irregularities in the closure of the defunct banks.
Godfrey Watenga Nabutanyi the Lutseshe County MP said there is need for Parliament to investigate the COSASE report writing process, arguing that what appears in the report is different from what transpired during the probe.
However, Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga appealed to his colleagues to discuss the report calmly, saying they risk glossing over serious commissions and omissions by being emotional.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said parliament would continue the debate on Wednesday before making resolutions and streamlining the recommendations made by COSASE.
She also summoned the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to be present during the debate on Wednesday.