2 April 2011

Uganda: Tropical Bank Assures Public On Deposits

TROPICAL Bank has said all clients' deposits are safe despite sanctions against Libya and the move by Bank of Uganda to take over management of the financial institution.

The acting managing director, Prince Kassim Nakibinge Kakungulu, told journalists on Friday that the bank was well capitalised, with enough liquidity, operating normally and continued to attract new customers.

"We experienced a few panic withdrawals of about 5% of the total deposits on Friday (when BOU announced take-over) but on Saturday and Monday the situation had stabilised," Nakibinge said.

He said on "panicky" Friday the bank's deposits stood at sh113b while by Thursday they had surged to sh114b.

"We are strong, sound, with good liquidity and management. I doubt there is any bank in Uganda that has experienced trauma and recovered like Tropical Bank," Nakibinge said.

Tropical Bank has shareholding of the Libyan government and the Government of Uganda. The United Nations slammed sanctions on the Libyan government and its interests globally over claims that it was targeting citizens in a violent uprising. Nakibinge reiterated that the situation in Libya would not affect the bank directly because it's locally incorporated and governed by Uganda laws.

"We cannot to be closed because of impropriety or bankruptcy. The so-called sanctions don't affect us: that possibly we have foreign funds that are targeted. The sanctions were aimed at preventing money going to Libya to aid the war. We have local deposits," the prince explained.

He added: "Our shareholders are the Government of Uganda and Libya. Whatever happens in Libya these two governments will stay."

The MD explained that the bank was offering all its services and destined to open a new branch in Kakira at the end of the month.

Nakibinge said the bank had no ill feelings about the few customers who withdrew their money "out of fear" but was grateful to those who sought answers first.

"We asked them where they get their fear and they replied that there is a history of bank closures. We told them, 'we are not among that statistic and we shall not be.'"

Nakibinge was flanked by eight city tycoons who testified why they had not contemplated withdrawing their fortune from Tropical Bank.

They included; Guster Lule of Ntake Bakery, Hajji Umaru Ahmed a.k.a Mandela of City Tyres and City Oil, Hajji Mohammed Ssebaggala of Ssebaggala and Sons and Mr Kibuuka of Mulowooza and Brothers Construction Company.

Others were Lawrence Stuarts of Fire Masters, Hajjat Kiyemba and Hajji Musa Katongole of Uganda Taxi Operators and Drivers Association (UTODA).

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