KAMPALA – Three weeks after the Director of Public Prosecutions sanctioned charges against top central bank officials following the findings of a Parliamentary inquiry into the closure and sale of seven commercial banks, the police is yet to act on the orders.
Mr Bernard Ssekabira, the Director of Financial Markets at Bank of Uganda, was the first official to be summoned by the police Criminal Investigations Directorate to face trial in relation to the disposal of assets of some of the 7 banks whose sale was investigated by Parliament.
“This is to inform you that the Director public Prosecutions sanctioned the matter for the suspect to appear in Court and the purpose of this communication is to request you release Mr. Benedict Sekabira to report at CID headquarters on July 30, 2020, such that he can be produced in court for the charges of concealing title deeds under Sections 278 of the Penal Code,” a July 27 letter from CID Headquarters to Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile reads.
Mr Sekabira, is yet to report to police and the CID has not taken action.
Days after the DPP indicted Mr.Sekabira, it later emerged that former Executive Director for Supervision Justine Bagyenda too was facing the music.
The DPP asked police to arrest and search the homes of both Sekabira and Ms Bagyenda, saying evidence on the record indicated they were involved in fraudulent transfer of certificate of tittles belonging to the former clients of defunct banks.
In a letter dated July 7 to CID boss Grace Akullo, the DPP sanctioned the arrest and seizure of all relevant documents belonging to Ms. Bagyenda on obtaining a court order.
“Obtain a Court Order to search and seize all relevant documents, computers from offices and or homes of the suspects for and useful pieces of evidence since they have refused to cooperate,” the DPP wrote also directing the CID to obtain and retrieve all documents detailing all transactions between River Acquisition and SIL Investment Limited and all statements from the former Deputy Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende.
“The Auditor General should be asked to carry out a specific forensic audit to establish whether or not the continued charging of interest on loans when the banks are in liquidation is irregular since the banking business stops at the time of closure. Provide a list of loan portfolios demanded by Bank of Uganda from respective borrowers of the defunct banks in its capacity as the liquidator before Nile River Acquisition Limited took over and retrieve certified copies of certificates of title complained of as of from Commissioner Land Registration, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. This is aimed at establishing the current position of the titles,” the DPP whose focus is on the relationship between the two Central Bank officials and the three companies involved the transactions belonging to seven commercial bank wrote.
The companies and personalities in the spotlight include Kakembo Katende and all his associates/partners trading as Ms Kirkland Associates, Nanyonga Evelyn and all her co-Directors in SIL Investment Limited and the coordinators of the defunct Banks in liquidation Mr. Ben Sekabira together with Polly K. Ndyarugahi his co-coordinator and Octavian Advisors and other Bank of Uganda associates.
Mr. Sekabira, and other top officials at BoU were pinned by some of the key findings and recommendations of the report by Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State enterprises in regard to the closed defunct banks and disposal of their assets.
The COSASE report that was presented to the House in November 2019 and adopted by Parliament recommended that the central bank officials involved in the sale of loan portfolios for the five defunct banks be held liable.
The Banks include Green land bank, Global Trust Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, Crane Bank and National Bank of Commerce.
The report pinned Mr. Sekabira and former Executive Director Bank supervision Justine Bagyenda as people who had a conflict of interest in the transaction.
The MPs on COSASE probing banks then had during the probe, tasked Mr. Sekabira, who became a controversial figure to prove that he had been properly appointed as liquidator of the banks.
Mr Sekabira later failed to produce the inventory reports on the closed banks but told MPs he had submitted them to three former BoU officials including Justine Bagyenda, Margaret Matovu and Apollo Obo who were supposed to submit them to the Governor. Governor Mutebile blamed the officials over the mess.