KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have reacted with consternation to the re-appointment of Justine Bagyenda to the board of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and accused the Finance minister of double standards since she is under investigation by the same authority over allegations of money laundering.
This website has seen a letter dated May 7 in which Minister Matia Kasaija wrote to the Speaker of Parliament, indicating that Bagyenda, who was in February sacked as director for supervision at Bank of Uganda (BoU), is being re-appointed to the board of FIA, which is currently investigating her following revelations of that she had stashed billions on bank accounts.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) is also conducting a parallel investigation on Battens over allegations of illicit accumulation of wealth.
And now MPs are demanding that Bagyenda’s reappointment be revoked, describing it as a mockery of justice.
“I simply don’t get it. I don’t understand this impunity. The Appointments Committee must block it,” said Gerald Karuhanga, the Ntungamo Municipality MP.
Kumi Municipality MP Monica Amoding urged the public to petition the Appointments Committee over the matter.
Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye, a member of the Appointments Committee, warned: “That is wrong. If they had wanted to re-appoint her to the Board, at least they should have waited for the outcome of the ongoing investigations. In my opinion, the appointment should be stayed until investigations into her conduct at Bank of Uganda are concluded.”
A section of MPs have already drafted a motion that seeks to compel Parliament to set up a Select Committee to investigate the operationsof Bank of Uganda and Bagyenda’s role in the closure of Crane Bank and it is already on the Order Paper.
PML Daily could not immediately contact Minister Kasaija for a comment but independent newspaper Daily Monitor on Friday quotes him as saying that he made the appointment before IGG and FIA investigations began.
“When I re-appointed her the issues of money laundering and others were not yet in the press, there is no way I could have re-appointed her with question marks surrounding her integrity,” Mr Kasaija is quoted as saying.
However, he is reminded that the investigation into Ms Bagyenda started as far back as March, to which he promised to crosscheck.
“I do not want to commit myself on something I am not sure of. I need to crosscheck tomorrow [today],”Mr Kasaija said.