A whistleblower has petitioned President Museveni and the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) of the High Court, seeking to indict three former executives of the Bank of Uganda (BoU), over allegations of involving themselves in corruption and the “dubious sale” of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank.
The petitioner, Sam Brian Kakuru, wants the High Court to institute an investigation into the operations of former Bank of Uganda deputy governor Dr Louis Kasekende; Justine Bagyenda, the former BoU executive director in charge of bank supervision and Benedict Ssekabira over what he calls the “illegal sale of Sudhir Ruparelia’s Crane Bank and six other banks.”
Kakuru wants court to base their investigations on the 2019 findings of the Committee on the Commission, State Authorities and Statutory Enterprises (COSASE) and the Auditor General’s Report, which implicated Kasekende, Bagyenda, Ssekabira and other BoU officials in having had a hand in the dubious sale of Crane Bank and several other commercial banks.
He writes: “The former Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials conspired with the mysterious Nile River Acquisition Company as the Company bought off secured debts of International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank at Shs8.89 billion representing a 26 per cent discount of the total secured loans.”
He added in his petition that the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) provides ways in which the Bank of Uganda may take over and resolve the financial institution that is in distress. He says BoU fraudulently closed Crane Bank ignoring sections 89 (1), (2) (e) and (9) of the FIA Act (Annex 1).”
Kakuru says the High Court must investigate and prosecute former BoU officials to establish the circumstances that led to the closure of Cooperative Bank and Greenland Bank.
Crane Bank Ltd was closed by Bank of Uganda in October 2016 and later controversially sold to dfcu Bank in January 2017.
The COSASE report on the sale/closure of banks which was released in February 2019 called for wide ranging changes at the central bank. It also called for punishment of the implicated officials.
Among other things, the report recommended that contracts of the governor of Bank of Uganda Tumusiime Mutebile and his deputy, Dr Louis Kasekende should not be renewed.
The report singled out other officials that should be held culpable in the mismanagement of the sale of some commercial banks. These are: Benedict Ssekabira, the director of Financial Markets Development Coordination (FMDC), Justine Bagyenda, the former executive director for Commercial Banks supervision; and Margaret Kasule, the legal counsel.
Last week, the Court of Appeal in Kampala dismissed an appeal filed by Bank of Uganda against an earlier judgment that had dismissed a shs397 billion commercial dispute between Crane Bank in receivership and businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.