By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials led by Governor Emmanuel Mutebile will on Tuesday return to Parliament to explain the controversial closure of 7 banks.
The parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) is currently probing BoU’s decision to close 7 banks namely; 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 the sale of Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) to dfcu (2016).
Investigations have revealed that BoU officials sold ICB, Greenland and Cooperative Bank to Nile River Acquisition- an alleged ghost company.
COSASE on Monday grilled Mutebile and his officials to present documents including inventories on the closure of the three mentioned banks. The MPs were concerned why BoU sold the banks to a company without an address.
During a search at Uganda Registrations Services Bureau (URSB), a government agency which registers all companies, it has been established that the company is non-existent.
“A search conducted on our records revealed that the name Nile River Acquisition is not reflected in our database. We therefore request for any documentation in your possession pertaining to the said name that can aid a further search, URSB’s Maureen Nabachwa said on behalf of the Registrar, Bemanya Twebaze.
Earlier on, reports indicated that Nile River Acquisition Company is a Mauritius-based company before URSB proved that the company has actually never existed.
Justine Bagyenda, the former Bank of Uganda Executive Director in charge of Supervision, is said to have been responsible for the sale of the 3 defunct banks.
At the time of closure, Bagyenda and two other former BoU officials; Margaret Matovu and Apollo Obo are said to have received inventory documents from the director financial markets and development coordination Bernard Sekabira who was the liquidator of the said banks.
It is not a surprise that COSASE on Monday summoned Bagyenda and two others to explain the missing documents on closure of the banks and why they decided to sell the banks to a non-existent company. This is after Mutebile denied receiving any inventory reports to that effect from Bagyenda.
Greenland Bank that was closed in 1999 belonged to late Suleiman Kiggundu, who was Bank of Uganda Governor between 1986 and 1990. Until his death, the banker refuted reports that his 7 year old bank was closed due to liquidation crisis.
COSASE has faulted BoU for closing the 3 banks without inventory reports showing inherited assets and liabilities.
COSASE has found that the International Credit Bank (ICB) was fraudulently closed in 1998 while the 35 year old Cooperative Bank that was closed in 1999 was closed unclear circumstances with no report from BoU.