By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Bugweri County Member of Parliament Abdu Katuntu who is the outgoing chairperson of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has defended his report on the closure of 7 defunct Banks.
This is after MPs on Tuesday criticized the recommendations of the report saying it was ‘shallow and void.’ The MPs questioned the independence of the Committee on grounds that the report does not mention names of individuals or Bank of Uganda officials who were culpable in the controversial closure and sale of the 7 defunct Banks including Crane Bank that was closed in 2016.
In his defense of the report, Katuntu told the MPs to appreciate the report in its state on grounds that they did the report under very tough conditions.
“We reviewed thousands of documents and had only 4 days to write the report. We did our best under very difficult circumstances. We did not just come out of the blue with these recommendations. In fact, there was a huge debate on if we should name the culprits or not,” Katuntu said.
He said that the committee did not mention names for fear of legal implications following the Fox Odoi Vs Attorney General case.
“We did not by any way intend to hide these names. We have made more enemies than friends and at one moment security was suggesting to give us guards. I can give even the names if you want because we have them. We need this report to pass the legal test and if we don’t do that then our works will be in vain,” Katuntu said.
Katuntu said that it was very difficult for the committee to mention names because, during the meetings, BoU officials could not avail minutes of their sittings during the closure and sale of the commercial banks.
“How do you name people when they cannot remember who attended the meetings? If there were minutes then you can easily mention names but the BoU officials either did not have them or simply intended to conceal the information,” he said.
He deferred with MPs who said that his committee was tough-speaking during meetings but polite in their report.
“What happened during the sittings is the same thing that happened in the report except for the recommendations for the reasons I have given you,” Katuntu said.
The House resumes Wednesday to further debate the report and thereafter scrutinize every recommendation before coming to a conclusive decision on whether to adopt the report or not.