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BOOSTING AGRICULTURE: Busoga farmers receive tractors:

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Government, through National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has given out 26 tractors to selected farmer groups and associations in the Busoga region to boost commercial farming in the area.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga handed over the tractors to the different farmer groups on Friday 22, November, 2019 at the Luuka District headquarters.

Kadaga asked the farmers to properly utilize the tractors for agricultural use in order to boost commercial agriculture and alleviate poverty.

“I do not want to see or hear that the tractors are being used to ferry people back and forth or transport merchandise because that will defeat the purpose of the struggle we as leaders have gone through to secure them,” she added.

The Speaker further commended the Minister for Presidency and Luuka District Woman MP, Esther Mbayo for effort in lobbying for Busoga Region to receive tractors.

Minister Mbayo urged the groups to appropriately utilize these tractors for their own development adding that, “it was no walk in the park getting them”.

“Please take care of these tractors so that they can serve and help you grow in your respective groups; we want to see a boost in agriculture,” she added.

The Minister listed the following beneficiary groups as; Bugiri District Farmers Association, Bugweri Commercial Farmers Cooperative Society Limited, Kiwemba Farmers Cooperative Society, Buwende Butagaya Cooperative Society, Kamuli District Farmers Association, Nawanyago Technical Institute among others.

The Speaker asked the groups to utilize the Kasolwe Stock Farm in Kamuli which is currently being rehabilitated to acquire training on better farming practices and better animal and plant variations.

In separate events, the Speaker officiated over the 27 year celebrations of Luubu Twezimbe Group of the Blind in Mayuge District. She promised to lobby the President for a special program to support activities for people with disabilities.

She also launched the Luuka District Boda Boda SACCO that the President donated Ushs24m to.

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WORLD ANTI-CORRUPTION WEEK: Where is the promised action on BoU officials implicated in multibillion irregular takeover and sale of 7 defunct banks?

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Outgoing IGG, Irene Mulyagonjja will be one of the main walkers this year's anti-Corruption Walk. Her report on former BoU Executive Director, Bank Supervision, Justine Bagyenda’s alleged illicit wealth by the Inspector General of Government, has never seen the light of day.

On this day, 28th November, 2017 following several complaints about the irregular closure of several commercial banks by Bank of Uganda, the Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (PAC – COSASE) vide letter requested the Auditor General (OAG)to undertake a special audit on the closure of 7 commercial banks by the Central Bank.

The seven banks are: Teefe Trust Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, Greenland Bank, Global Trust Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Crane Bank Limited.

Bank of Uganda tried and failed to block the audit and following the intervention of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga, the Audit by the OAG started. PAC-COSASE would later re-convene in October 2018, to consider the report’s findings. 

The OAG discovered a lot of rot at the central bank characterised by lack of systems and procedures in closing and selling off banks, insider dealing and failure to comply with the Financial Institutions Act (2004) among many other legal and corporate governance breaches.  

For example, it was discovered that assets (loans) belonging to International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland bank, Cooperative Bank Assets (loans) amounting to Shs135 bn were sold to a one, M/S Nile River Acquisition Company at $5.25m (Shs8.9bn), causing a loss of Shs126 bn. The loan portfolio included Shs34 bn of loans that had valid, legal and equitable mortgage supported by proper legal documentation.

Former BoU Executive Director, supervision Mrs Justine Bagyenda (left) and Deputy Governor, Louis Kasekende. The duo were severally named by COSASE for their role in the bandle closure and sale of seven (7) commercial banks. One year after the COSASE report recommending action against them, no action has been taken by government.

According to the OAG, the UGX8.9bn sale price, represented 26% of the total secured loan portfolio and 7% of the total loan portfolio!

In another shocking discovery, the Auditor General discovered that Bank of Uganda had not carried out any valuation of Crane Bank, as required by Section 95 (2) (a) and (b); and 95 (3)(a) and (b) but instead relied on dfcu’s valuation, raising questions as to how a seller can rely on a value set by the buyer.  

As a result, the OAG found that BoU sold Crane Bank to dfcu bank at a bargain purchase price of Shs200bn payable over a period of 30 months. He also found that BoU either negligently and or intentionally failed to charge dfcu interest on this deferred payment, causing the tax payer a loss of UGX39.5 billion.

The Auditor General (AG) Mr John F.S Muwanga, also reported that out of UGX478.8bn that BoU claims was used to recapitalise Crane Bank, he couldn’t confirm that money amounting to UGX270bn actually went to bonafide beneficiaries.

These are just a few of the glaring acts of corruption, misuse of office and gross negligence uncovered by the OAG and PAC-COSASE.

The MPs in their February 2019 report, recommended that owners of the closed banks be compensated to the “commercially fair extent” possible for the ”financial loss occasioned.” They also asked that “all BoU officials who failed to properly execute their duties in accordance with the law should to be held responsible.”    

But it is now going up to a year and despite several media reminders by the public, members of parliament, including the Speaker herself, no single action has been taken on these errant BoU officials.

The probe into former BoU Executive Director, Bank Supervision, Justine Bagyenda’s alleged illicit wealth by the Inspector General of Government, has never seen the light of day.

As the entire world prepares to celebrate the Global Anti-Corruption Day on December 2019, a befitting gift to Ugandans and the rest of the world by President Museveni, would be taking action on the recommendations of PAC-COSASE.

A shakeup of Bank of Uganda, would be a big message to all the corrupt that no matter who you are, there will be consequences for corruption.

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Commonwealth Parliamentary conference kicks-off in Munyonyo

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The long waited Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) and Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians steering committee meeting have kicked off this morning at the Speke Resort Munyonyo with closed meetings of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) regional secretaries.

CPA small branches steering Committee with Chairperson (Speaker of the Maltese Parliament) Angelo Farrugia (centre)

The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians steering committee will discuss the importance of monitoring for new parliamentarians and the promotion of women to leadership positions and senior portfolios.

The 64th Conference themed “Adaption, engagement and evolution of Parliament’s in a rapidly changing Commonwealth’’ will run-up to September 29, 2019. It has attracted 1,200 delegates from former colonies and territories of the British.

So far, up to 20 Speakers and Deputy Speakers of National and provincial Parliaments, as well as delegates, were on Sunday received by the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the CPC designate president.

Among the notable figure is the CPA Chairperson, Emilia Monjowa, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Cameroon. The other Speakers and Deputy Speakers are from Lesotho, Kenya, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Virgin Islands, the Gambia, Malta, Fiji, Bermuda and others.

Also delegates from Bermuda, Guyana, Ghana, New Zealand, Australia, Cameroon, ESwatini, Fiji, Gambia, Malta, Seychelles, Tanzania, Djibouti, Canada, Kenya, India, Falkland Islands, Scotland, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Wales, Malaysia, Cayman Islands, Sri Lanka, Botswana, Namibia, Pakistan, South Africa, Virgin Islands and others.

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64TH COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE: Gov’t assures delegates of security

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The government spokesperson Mr. Ofwono Opondo, who also doubles as the executive director of Uganda Media Centre has assured delegates intending to travel to Uganda for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) of a peaceful stay and guaranteed security.

Government Spokesperson Mr. Ofwono Opondo while addressing the media at parliament

Speaking to journalists at Parliament about the conference, he said that the delegates should not worry about security while in Uganda.

“This is a global event and we would like to inform all delegates coming alongside their spouses that Uganda is a peaceful country; so no worries. And they should come again for other purposes,” Opondo said on Wednesday.

The 64th CPC, set for September 22-29 in Kampala, will be held at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel in Munyonyo.

Opondo was joined by Paul Amoru (Dokolo North MP), the chairperson of the CPC committee on media and publicity. During the live chat, the two talked about a number of issues concerning CPC, but most importantly, how Uganda is set to benefit from the conference.

“We have packaged content that is promoting Uganda to the outside world and these videos will be played at the conference venue and in some of the buses transporting the delegates, so that they can know what to expect before they set off for Uganda,” Amoru said.

“The Speaker of Parliament has made deliberate efforts to promote local content for the 2019 CPC by getting local performers and excursions at local sites involved. This means the local person will have a share of the benefits of this conference. The hotel industry, tourism and services sectors are some of the main beneficiaries of the conference,” He added.

Uganda was selected by the Commonwealth leadership to host the 64th CPC that was preceded by the 63rd session that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2017.

It last hosted the conference in 1967.

Amoru also noted that peer-to-peer accountability mechanisms are part of the touch of the 2019 CPC, adding that the Parliament of Uganda will get tips on how to better conduct business.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who is the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) international president designate, will also put Uganda on the map. During the conference, several meetings that will engage the youth, women and People With Disabilities (PWDs) have been lined up.

“Almost the whole world is coming down to Uganda, so there will be a lot of spending which will of course benefit the local Ugandan. There will also be a chance for exhibition,” Amoru added.

Opondo implored Ugandans to get ready to welcome the CPC visitors and show them what he described as the usual hospitality for which Uganda is renowned. Amoru said delegates to the CPC are coming from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific among others.

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