By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Members of Parliament have questioned the report by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on the closure of 7 defunct Banks.
The COSASE report was presented last Thursday by outgoing committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu with Parliament kicking off debate on the report. MPs recommended that each individual involved in the fraudulent closure and sale of the named commercial banks should be held accountable for their actions.
“COSASE had started well, but when it came to recommendations, they started sugarcoating things. I would want to see accountants held accountable, I want to see recommendations on specific individuals. I, therefore, take COSASE recommendations as null and void,” Paulson Luttamaguzi (Nakaseke South MP) said.
Kenneth Eitunganane, Soroti County MP said that “The names of the culprits are not coming out clearly in the report. I think by now, the Nakalema (State House Anti-Corruption Unit) should have swung into action.”
"There was irregularity, there were no reports, no inventories, no proper evaluations, the whole process was marred with intimidation of media and shareholders. People like Justine Bagyenda should be individually held liable,” Muhammed Nsereko (Kampala Central MP) said.
State Minister of Health (General Duties) Sarah Opendi joined the MPs to pushed for tough recommendations on Bank of Uganda officials who sold the defunct commercial banks after flouting the Financial Institution Act.
“If we were in a developed country, Bank of Uganda officials would have resigned, but this is Uganda where corruption seems to be okay. We cannot approve the report when the officials who caused a financial loss are still free,” Opendi said.
Ajuri County MP Hamson Obua requested parliament to amend the Constitution and the Bank of Uganda Act to create for separation of BoU Board and Management and that managers of commercial banks should not be on the board of the Central Bank. As it stands, BoU Governor Emmanuel Mutebile is also the chairperson of the Board.
Despite having tough committee meetings, the COSASE report does not clearly pinpoint individuals culpable for the controversial closure and sale of these banks.
“I find it very important to fire people like Kasekende, Bagyenda, Mutebile, and Sekabira. The BoU board should also be fired immediately and I also find it very important that the shareholders of closed banks should be refunded (for their losses) immediately,” Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (Kasambya County) said.
Tonny Ayo, Kwania County MP said that BoU officials are exploiting the old age of Mutebile to commit fraud. Mutebile and his deputy Governor are set to retire in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
However, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze thinks that there is no need to wait for the retirement of the top bosses.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that the House will debate the COSASE report and conclude it in 3 days where they will scrutinize every recommendation one at a time.