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INVESTIGATIONS

Inside Col. Nakalema’s Post Bank raid

Anti-corruption Unit in the Office of the President led by Lt Col Edith Nakalema swang in action cordoning off Post Bank office premises citing an investigation of money syphoning by personnel at the financial institution (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Early last month, Post Bank Uganda started internal investigations into abuse of office by nine senior managers.

The audit was a result of a whistleblower’s letter to the Managing Director, Steven N. Mukweli, citing irregularities in the Finance and Sales departments of the 93-year-old institution.

Those implicated included the General Manager Finance, Jackson Mwesigwa who is accused of syphoning billions of shillings from the bank.

Results from the yet to be released probe by the internal auditors reveal abuse of office and thus recommended that Mr Mwesigwa and eight others be suspended for a month, to pave way for a more comprehensive investigation.
The suspension letters were dished out towards the end of last month.

But Mwesigwa, who had served Post Bank in various capacities for about 14 years and built an aura of invincibility, was not going take it lying down. According to a reliable source, he vowed he was not ready to go down alone.

“There is room to believe the statement meant he would move to tarnish the image of the bank, using his fat financial chest”, the source told this website.

Since their suspension, Mr Mwesigwa has been moving around several offices, seeking for help, to get back at the bank, even before the final result of his investigation is out. And in doing so, he wants to turn tables and focus attention to the management of Post Bank, rather than himself and his suspended colleagues.

It was little surprise that operatives from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit stormed the bank’s main office on Nkrumah Road on Friday. They were led by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema; several journalists were in tow, ready to capture images of ‘a senior bank official being arrested.’

Col. Nakalema met with the managing director Mukweli and other top managers including the Executive Director.
During the meeting in the bank’s boardroom, Col. Nakalema read out allegations of abuse of office, sent by a whistleblower now believed to be one of the suspended nine.

However, Col. Nakalema didn’t take interest in the accusations against the suspended nine officials. She also had among other allegations, charges dating as far back as 2008 to 2010, this website has learned.

“Before they entered Post Bank offices, security operatives were deployed on the streets around the bank. Several others entered the facility causing confusion and panic among staff and customers of the bank”, Matsiko Abdu, a customer said.

After the meeting, at which it was agreed that a joint statement by Central Bank, Post Bank and Nakalema’s team be released, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit hastily issued one on Saturday.

It read in part: “The matter under investigation is for abuse of office and a number of senior bank personnel are under investigation. Bank operations remain uninterrupted. This investigation is being carried out in consultation with the Bank of Uganda and Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Further updates will be provided in due course.”

This website understands that Post bank has written to Bank of Uganda, documenting the events of the internal investigation, including the names of the suspended nine. We could not readily get the names of all the nine.

“Bank of Uganda is aware of and was consulted on the conduct of this investigation,” Kelvin Kizito, BoU’s acting director of communications told a local daily.

Now critics are blasting Bank of Uganda for allowing bad press around Post Bank which could have serious adverse effects.

Blogger Titus Seruga, known for his investigative posts posted on Monday that BoU wants to trigger another run on a bank like was the case in Crane Bank.

Many commentators believe if there’s anything at PBU that needs attention, Bank of Uganda should be at the frontline and doing so professionally given the nature of the business.

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