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Delayed IGG investigations report into Bagyenda wealth irks Financial Intelligence Authority

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The Executive Director of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Mr. Sydney Asubo has said his organisation is yet to get any report from the Inspectorate of Government (IG) regarding their findings into Justine Bagyenda’s wealth more than a year, after it started.

“Ask them! Because I am also still waiting for my copy of the report (if any),” Mr. Asubo, told this reporter.

“We requested them to give us a copy of their final report because we sent to them information. They are also supposed to give us feedback on the quality of the information we provide to them in all cases, so as to help us improve our own work where required,” he said via phone.

Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Executive Director Sydney Asubo (left) and the Inspector General of Government Mrs Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza, exchange an MoU to enhance cooperation in the fight against corruption and money laundering, earlier in 2016. The delay by the IGG in sharing vital information with FIA frustrates the letter and spirit of the MoU

Asubo who is a former director of legal affairs and the chief anti-corruption prosecutor at the Inspectorate of Government said his organisation was “still waiting for feedback from IGG almost one year down the road!”

“Not even a progress report or preliminary feedback.  Nothing,” he said.

ALSO READ: https://www.ceo.co.ug/m7-on-corruption-the-igg-has-been-infiltrated-by-bad-elements/

On February 20th 2018, a whistle-blower petitioned the IGG to investigate Ms Bagyenda, referring to different assets, and the billions of shillings she allegedly held in two bank accounts in Kampala.

After much public pressure, an investigation was started under the leadership of the Leadership Code Directorate in the office of the IGG.

In June, the IGG, Mrs Irene Mulyagonja, after being castigated by the President during the State of the Nation Address for failing on her job to fight corruption, is quoted by Daily Monitor, a local daily as saying the report would be out soon. The same article was relayed on the IGG’s official website: https://www.igg.go.ug/updates/media/bagyenda-investigations-almost-complete-says-igg/

In December 2018, Ms Twine Annet Kyakunda, the Director of Leadership Code, under whose docket the Bagyenda investigation falls, also told this newsite that the report had been concluded and handed over to the IGG.

“That report is now complete and has been handed over to the IGG herself. It is now in the hands of the IGG herself for handling,” she said at the time.

In another phone conversation with this news site on April 16th 2019 she further reconfirmed the same but said the report was not publicly available as per the law.

President Museveni with Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland and the IGG Mrs Mulyagonja. Museveni has made it a habit to publicly scold the IGG for failing in her duties to fight corruption and in December 2018 appointed his former aide, Lt Col Edith Nakalema to watch over the IGG.

However, addressing the media on May 2nd 2019, at the Uganda Media Centre, the IGG contradicted her staff and said the report was not yet complete, but added that even when it is complete, unless there is a recommendation to prosecute Bagyenda, the report won’t be made publicly available.

Is the IGG frustating the Bagyenda investigation?

The delay of the much awaited report has caused public anxiety, even raising earlier fears that the IGG herself could be having specific interest in the case and is thus interfering in the release of the report.

President Yoweri Museveni has already fingered some unnamed elements at the Inspectorate of Government for frustrating the fight against corruption and in a show of no confidence in the institution has appointed his former aide, Lt Col Edith Nakalema to oversee the inspectorate.

The president, in his own words likened this to appointing of a “watchman (Nakalema) to watch the watchman (Mulyagonja).”   

“I think she (IGG) was infiltrated, slowly by some groups,” said the president at the ongoing 9th Commonwealth Regional Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa at Lake Victoria Serena, Kigo.  

Mr. Museveni had earlier in a June 6th 2018, State of the Nation Address scolded the IGG for incompetence.

RELATED: https://www.ceo.co.ug/igg-denies-ever-clearing-bagyenda-on-illicit-wealth-conflicts-with-staff-on-state-of-the-investigations/

“What happened to the IGG? Why don’t the victims of corruption report those incidences of corruption to the IGG,” asked an angry Museveni.

“If it is not working, why should we keep it then? The IGG should reflect on this. Are her staff credible? Why does the public not trust that institution? We need answers,” he said.

Weeks later, he would appoint Lt. Col Edith Nakalema to head a Statehouse Anti-Corruption Unit.  .  

Finance

Gov’t ready to shake down BoU- Finance Minister

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COSASE and the Presidential Tripartite Committee have recommended a shakedown of BoU and the legal regime setting it up

After a long wait, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) Hon. Matia Kasaija, has said that Government is ready to take action on the recommendations of Parliament on Bank of Uganda.

Mr. Kasaija was today quoted by Daily Monitor, Uganda’s leading independent daily saying that after the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (PAC-COSASE) made their recommendations, following a lengthy probe, and parliament had discussed and adopted the report, he had tasked the central bank to examine the findings and recommendations of the COSASE report and make a report to him, showing what actions they would take internally.

“We are moving, but I cannot give you the whole detail. We have received a report from Bank of Uganda showing the actions they have taken. But I cannot give you details on these actions too. The report was sent to me about three days ago,” Mr Kasaija is quoted, as having told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview.

The Hon Abdu Katuntu COSASE which faulted Bank of Uganda for mismanaging the takeover and sale of seven defunct banks, had among others recommended an amendment of critical clauses in the BoU Act as well as holding several BoU officials criminally liable.

Kasaija’s comments come on the back of another recently leaked Confidential Report of the Presidential Tripartite Committee to the President that also recommended an “urgent and comprehensive review” of what it believes is an archaic “legal regime governing the Bank of Uganda.”

“The Bank of Uganda Act Cap 51 was last amended in 1993, two years before the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. In the case of the Bank of Uganda by-laws established under Statutory Instrument 51-1, the situation is even worse as they were passed in 1968 and continue to be applied despite being inconsistent with the Constitution in some important respects such as the authority of the Governor versus the authority of the Board,” reads part of a leaked Confidential Report of the Presidential Tripartite Committee to the President.

The committee recommended a “splitting or separation of the functions of the Governor and the Chairperson of the Board especially with regard to administrative matters”, noting that “most of the problems caused as a result of the Governor’s decision could have been avoided if the two roles were separate with no opportunity for the Governor to function as both Board and Chief Executive Officer.”

The Committee also recommended that a new additional position of Deputy Governor be created to unburden the governor, who they said was “too overloaded in terms of responsibilities” some of which risked “exposing the position of Governor to unnecessary controversies.”

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The Presidency

Presidential Committee recommends urgent and comprehensive sweeping Central Bank reforms

A committee appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to study several complaints made to the Inspectorate of Government and Parliament about Bank of Uganda, has recommended “urgent and comprehensive review” of what it believes is an archaic “legal regime governing the Bank of Uganda.” “The Bank of Uganda Act Cap 51 was last amended in 1993, […]

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A committee appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to study several complaints made to the Inspectorate of Government and Parliament about Bank of Uganda, has recommended “urgent and comprehensive review” of what it believes is an archaic “legal regime governing the Bank of Uganda.” “The Bank of Uganda Act Cap 51 was last amended in 1993, […]

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Finance

Oberthur Fiduciaire the French money printer speaks out; denies any wrongdoing, blames money plane operator and offers to compensate BoU

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BoU Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile called in government to investigate the anomalies identified in currency note logistics. French money printer, Oberthyr Fiduciaire has denied any wrong doing and strongly rejected any suggestions that extra illegitimate money was printed and carried on the plane

Oberthur Fiduciaire, the French currency printer contracted by BoU to print and deliver an unspecified amount of Uganda Shilling banknotes to Uganda, has denied any wrong in the ongoing scandal in which unauthorised cargo found its way on what should have been a top-security exclusive flight.

Allen & Overy LLP, who are Oberthur Fiduciaire’s lawyers, in an email to CEO East Africa Magazine blamed the operator of the plane, chartered by them, who carried unauthorised cargo and didn’t bother to notify them beforehand.

Oberthur Fiduciare strongly rejected any claims and allegations that there was any extra and or unauthorised money on-board and or printed by them, saying: “Oberthur Fiduciaire confirms that the exact number of banknotes ordered by the BoU has been printed and delivered.”

The French firm also clarified that they are not associated with Oberthur Technologies SA, which is facing a 2.5 years ban from World Bank and partner agencies over a corruption scandal in Bangladesh.   

CEO East Africa Magazine understands that Kuehne + Nagel International AG, a global transport and logistics company based in Schindellegi, Switzerland is the transporter hired by Oberthur Fiduciaire to transport the money to Uganda.

“Oberthur Fiduciaire further denies having committed any wrongdoing in relation to its business relationship with the BoU and the provision of banknotes,” wrote Allen & Overy LLP.

“For the sake of clarity, the MD-11 (The McDonnell Douglas MD-11) aircraft that was initially supposed to be used to ship banknotes to the BoU had been grounded in Kampala for technical reasons and replaced by a larger B747 (Boeing 747). The operator of the B747 has, without notifying Oberthur Fiduciaire, used the same flight to ship one pallet of replacement parts for the MD-11 and four pallets of regular cargo,” the law firm further clarified on behalf of Oberthur Fiduciare.

“Oberthur Fiduciaire eventually offered financial compensation to BoU in the form of a rebate on future transport costs as this was contrary to the contractual arrangements between BoU and Oberthur Fiduciaire,” concluded Allen & Overy LLP.

CEO East Africa Magazine has written to Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority who manages Entebbe International Airport to corroborate this and will update this story in due course.

On June 14th Matooke Republic, a Kampala based news site reported that The official amount printed was a “70 million pieces of UGX5,000 notes” to totalling to UGX350 billion. The money was supposed to be flown in a privately chartered MD-11F aboard a M/s Kuenel + Nagel flight no. AJK4042/LGG-EBB on 26th April 2019.

However, there was a change of plan to another plane B747-400BCF at the last minute.

Kuenel + Nagel was reportedly paid USD196,931 as freight and insurance fees. 

Matooke Republic also reported that Oberthur the company contracted to print the money went ahead to offer a remedy of $15,000 (about Shs57m) or a 10% discount on the next consignment.

An unconvinced BoU Governor, Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, then called in State House’s Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the matter.

A statement by Uganda Revenue Authority has since said that the 5 extra cargo pallets contained other cargo which belonged to various individuals / companies / organizations.

“As per normal customs clearance procedure, this cargo was offloaded into the licensed bonds at the airport and subsequently the owners made customs declarations, paid applicable taxes and Customs physically verified each consignment to ascertain accuracy and consistency with the declaration and released the goods to the owners,” read a statement by Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA Customs Commissioner.

Some of the organisations/entities said to have had cargo on the said plane, include businessman Charles Mbiire and Omar Mandela’s Mandela Millers Ltd. A number of UN agencies as well as USAID, Ministry of Health and other private businesses have also been named by authorities as having had cargo on the said plane. 

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