The former executive director in charge of Supervision at Bank of Uganda, Justine Bagyenda yesterday faced a torrid time in Parliament as MPs demanded to know whether she has any clue on the whereabouts of the inventory reports of some of the banks that were closed/sold.
Bagyenda who kept shifting in her seat, denied that she was in possession of documents about the closed banks telling the committee instead to question other officials.
Dissatisfied with some of her responses, Anita Among, the deputy chairperson of COSASE asked her to explain why as director in charge of bank supervision, she sanctioned the sale of loans of International Credit Bank, Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank which were around Shs 135bn at a lower figure of Shs 8 billion.
She also asked her why the original price for the loan portfolio was reduced from $ 10 m to $ 5.5 million.
But Bagyenda said: “Through my recollection, I stated that I retired from the services of the Central Bank and therefore, I don’t have any documentation in my custody to allow me to answer all these questions because this Committee is evidence based. All I can say is that all questions that have been asked are really well documented in the files that I left behind in the Bank.”
Committee chairman Katuntu warned Bagyenda not to avoid the MPs’ questions and gave her up to today to come up with convincing answers to their queries.
Earlier, Odonga Otto, the Aruu County MP had tasked Bagyenda to explain why she had first declined to appear before the parliamentary Appointments Committee during the vetting of board members of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA).
Later when Otto suggested that MPs needed to harden on Bagyenda, the former BoU official just smiled.
Throughout the proceedings yesterday Bagyenda appeared tensed up. While she engaged in small talk with some of her former colleagues, at times she appeared lost in thought.
Bagyenda’s appearance had been highly anticipated given the fact that as executive director in charge of bank supervision, she took the final decision to close or sell some of the banks.
Yet on the basis of what happened yesterday, it is clear that she did not provide answers to some of the key queries including questions related to the inventory reports of some of the closed banks.
COSASE is currently probing BoU officials on the criteria used by the Central Bank to close seven defunct banks.
This follows a special audit report by the Auditor General that revealed rot in the manner in which some of the banks were closed or sold.
The banks in question are: Teefe Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd , Greenland Bank, The Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank Ltd.