I advised against closure of Crane Bank, BoU did not listen to me,President Museveni was quoted as he told cabinet on Monday that he will not interfere with the ongoing probe of Bank of Uganda into the sale/closure of seven commercial banks by the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).
Before Bank of Uganda chiefs decided to close other banks and sell Crane Bank to dfcu Bank in January 2017, all seems that they never expected to be probed by parliament and so far, the Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile and his subordinates have been exposed by the Auditor General John Muwanga in his special audit report of BoU on seven defunct banks.
President Museveni’s revelation has made things look more logical, according to sources, while addressing the media the minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija told cabinet that the probe could affect economic stability since the committee is dealing with a sensitive issue.
Kasaija was reportedly supported by Ruth Nankabirwa, the chief whip, who expressed fear that some of the revelations so far could affect the image and reputation of the central Bank.
But the president reportedly dismissed their fears, revealing for instance that he had advised the central bank to “find an amicable” solution to the problems at Crane Bank and not to close it.
“I told them (the officials) to see if there is a way the bank can be salvaged without it being closed,” Museveni said according to insider sources. “But they did not listen.”
After the president had spoken, sources said that Kasaija and Nankabirwa did not belabour their points and instead chose to keep quiet.
Sources say President Museveni is happy with COSASE that has so far exposed BoU top officials. They have been exposed as workers who handle public matters in total disregard of the law. That is why they can’t find reports and other documents related to the sale of banks. That is why they cannot identify the whereabouts of some of the companies that they hired to do the jobs such as Kirkland & Associates and Nile River Acquisition Company.
Critics of the decision to close Crane Bank have pointed out before that the bank was closed unfairly, without following due procedure.
In a special audit, the Auditor General faulted BoU for selling off some of Crane Bank’s assets and liabilities when they had the chance to revive it, most especially that BoU claims it spent Shs478.8 billion on the bank during its takeover.
As a result, Crane Bank and Bank of Uganda are in court.
Meanwhile, COSASE’s probe into BoU entered its fifth week and so far some of the revelations have been startling.
For instance it has been discovered that the assets of some of the closed banks were sold on the cheap, while some inventory reports are missing.
Some of the bank’s officials including notably Justine Bagyenda, the former executive director in charge of supervision, have had a hard time explaining why they took the decisions that they did.