By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials have asked for more time to present documentary evidence in regards to the closure of 7 banks under probe.
BoU officials led by Governor Emmanuel Mutebile and his Deputy Louis Kasekende were on Thursday appearing before the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to respond to queries by the Auditor General’s report on controversial closure of 7 Banks that include; 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) at Shs200bn.
In his remarks, COSASE Chairperson, Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri County) said that probe which has already attracted public attention will be handled professionally and that the committee will discuss the closure of banks in a sequence following the year of closure.
However, Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante raised a procedural matter saying that the BoU responses to the AG report lack documentary attachments which makes it difficult to hold the officials accountable.
“Many of these people who own these banks want accountability so we need accountability. We are conscious of your (BoU) constitutional independence, but independence doesn't mean non accountability. We know BoU is independent but accountability is a constitutional requirement. What we are looking is accountability not criminal prosecution,” Katuntu said.
Katikamu North MP Abraham Byandala also lamented that the few documents that BoU had provided did not contain what they wanted.
In response, Mutebile told the committee that they have all the supporting documents in regards to closure of the Banks, but requested for more time to present them for scrutiny.
“It is quite impossible to reply to these demands within a day. We need a couple of days [to submit the documents]. We seek for more time so that we submit on Monday afternoon,” Mutebile said.
In his ruling, Katuntu adjourned the meeting up to Friday, but allowed BoU to submit all the necessary documents by close of business on Monday.
This probe follows a 28th November 2017 letter from COSASE requesting the Auditor General to undertake a special audit on the closure of all commercial banks by the Central Bank.
The confidential report from the Auditor General, John Muwanga was made public in August 2018 highlighting queries into how the Central Bank handled the closure of the seven Banks, a probe that was sparked off by the controversial closure of Crane Bank Limited which was taken over by Bank of Uganda on 20th October 2016, citing under capitalization and was later taken over by DFCU Bank.