The Internal Security Organization (ISO) is investigating wealthy businessman Sudhir Ruparelia and his son Rajiv Ruparelia for reportedly providing “cash payments” to the leaders of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Abdu Katuntu and Betty Among during the investigation into defunct banks.
Through a classified letter seen by our correspondent from the Inspectorate of Government (IG), the letter is asking the Director General of ISO, Brigadier Kaka Bagyenda to investigate the two former shareholders of Crane Bank and the lawmakers.
“The Inspectorate of Government received a complaint, copied to you, wherein allegations of misconduct by members of Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises were made in relation to the probe into the closure of seven defunct commercial banks,” said Mulyagonja in a letter to Kaka dated February 19.
“It was specifically alleged that the chairperson of COSASE, Hon Abdu Katuntu and his deputy Hon Anita Among are known associates of Dr Sudhir Ruparelia, a shareholder in the defunct Crane Bank, and regularly met with him, his son Rajiv Ruparelia and their lawyers during the course of the probe,” said Mulyagonja
The IGG further said other members of the Committee who are alleged to have been in contact with Dr Sudhir Ruparelia and Mr Rajiv Ruparelia are Hon Elijah Okupa and Hon Odonga Otto.
The Inspectorate, which doesn’t have the mandate to probe private institutions, asked ISO to also investigate claims that the said Members of the Committee and others “received cash payments from the Ruparelias which is suspected to be the reason they refused to yield leadership of COSASE when its term ended.”
Contacted on Wednesday evening, the spokesperson of the Inspectorate of Government, Ali Munira, said “It is true, we are the ones who wrote that letter to ISO investigate the matter.”
“The report from ISO will guide us on the next course of action depending on what will be found out,” said Munira in an exclusive interview with our correspondent.
The development comes at a time Parliament, which recently received the COSASE report, is pushing through a proposal to compensate owners of defunct banks including Sudhir Ruparelia.
According to the IGG’s letter to Kaka, “Abdu Katuntu was one of the debtors of Global Trust Bank at the time when the bank was closed on July 2012. He owed the bank approximately Shs 180m, a matter he did not declare yet the debts were amongst the causes of the bank’s collapse.”
Asked why the IGG didn’t investigate the matter, Munira said “the accusations are levelled against people in the private sector. We handle government officials.”
Pressed further, Munira said ISO’s report will inform the Inspectorate on how to handle accusations against MPs.
Reports that Katuntu was among the defaulters of Global Trust Bank will leave the COSASE leader with lacerations and also call to question the credibility of his report.
Katuntu’s team discussed, prepared and endorsed their report in a period of one week, a very rare act in the country’s recent history.
The report was quickly scheduled for discussion in Parliament. This has created suspicion that some MPs want to benefit from its adoption.
The report recommends compensation of former bank owners in total disregard of the causes of the banks’ collapse such as mismanagement, fraud and insider lending.
Kaka was also informed by the IGG that despite receiving Shs 400m from Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile to carry out a benchmarking exercise with other central banks, Katuntu did not declare this money and neither was the money accounted for.
In the same letter, IGG, who was quoting the petition to her office, said BoU’s Director of Supervision, Twinemanzi Tumubweine and members of COSASE “leaked confidentialinformation to Sudhir Ruparelia. Furthermore, Twinemanzi openly associates with Sudhir Ruparelia and has visited him at Speke Apartments and Kabira Country Club.”
Our correspondent was unable to speak to the accused as they did not receive our phone calls when we posted this article.
But a lawyer who spoke to us on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said “If an organ of state has been compromised by external forces to report to an individual instead of institutions, then the state will come in to establish if it is true to stop it with the view of avoiding state capture.”
The lawyer further said ISO has an economic crimes unit to investigate the matter.
Concluding her letter, Mulyagonja said her “office has decided that ISO is in a better position to investigate this and we hereby refer the same to your office for investigation. We request that you provide us with a copy of the report of your findings and action taken on conclusion of your investigation.”Add your comments: Download Our News App Here