KAMPALA – The former chairperson of the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Abdu Katuntu has accused officials from Bank of Uganda (BoU)of taking advantage of distressed banks to loot many of them out of business.
Mr. Katuntu made the remarks while responding to some of the queries raised by Members of Parliament (MPs)during the debate on the report by COSASE on the special audit report carried out by the Auditor General on the closure of defunct banks by the Central Bank.
He said: “It is true these banks were distressed but that didn’t mean that somebody should take advantage of the problem to cheat them, kill them and started scavenging. We have all these scavengers coming in and looting these banks.”
Mr. Katuntu’s remarks were in response to questions raised by MPs on why the Committee had recommended the government to compensate shareholders of closed banks for the illegalities committed by BoU during the closure, liquidation and winding up of the defunct banks.
The Bugweri County MP told Parliament that all rules and laws were breached by the Central Bank: “It is about the law. It isn’t our wish as Parliament but compensation is a legal obligation. The government has a responsibility to atone for mistakes of its public officers that is why it should supervise its public officers. If these officers are criminally responsible, they should be investigated and held criminally responsible.”
He also defended the decision by the Committee not to name any individuals, an omission that has seen a number of people in public criticize the report, with Katuntu arguing that the decision was intended not to have the report challenged in Courts of Law.
Mr.Katuntu urged that the decision was premised on the four times Parliament has been taken to court following Committee reports and didn’t want to give the culprits in the closure of banks chance to challenge COSASE report.
“If you are in the process like this, don’t give them an opportunity to attack the dignity and integrity of your report. We don’t give them a chance of judicial review. We had that legal mind while drafting the report,” Mr. Katuntu said.
He added: “I don’t want this report which has taken us time to compile to be dead on arrival. We want this report to be a permanent record of this House. We need to be careful the way we handle these issues. We are open to an amendment and will advise. It is your report as the House.”