22 March 2018

Uganda: IGG Quizzes Bagyenda Over Wealth Accumulation

Parliament — The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Irene Mulyagonja, yesterday interrogated Ms Justine Bagyenda, the Bank of Uganda executive director for commercial banks supervision, over illicit accumulation of wealth.

Ms Bagyenda was thrown into the eye of the storm after a whistleblower petitioned the IGG to investigate her over accusations of amassing wealth.

Although Ms Bagyenda's leaked bank accounts, which showed that she was holding billions of shillings in fixed deposits was not included in the whistleblowers petition, sources close to the meeting told this newspaper that the IGG questioned her on the same.

Diamond Trust Bank and Barclays Bank have since issued public apologies over the leakage of Ms Bagyenda's account details and threatened disciplinary action on their staffs.

Sources at the Inspectorate told Daily Monitor that, Ms Bagyenda was asked to explain sources of the money that she accrued on several bank accounts and how she accumulated the wealth that is attached to her name but she failed to furnish the Inspectorate with evidence detailing how she has amassed the wealth under her name.

According to sources, she tried to explain but there was no documentary evidence to back her income and assets details. She promised to furnish IGG with additional documents detailing how she got the various assets.

Ms Mulyagonja yesterday confirmed that Ms Bagyenda was interrogated over potential illicit accumulation of wealth but declined divulging the next course of action following yesterday's interview.

"We are doing an income, assets and liabilities verification in line with the Leadership Code Act," Ms Mulyagonja said.

Mr Dickwitington Kimeze, a concerned citizen, through his lawyer, petitioned the IGG on August 6 2017, claiming that he had information about properties belonging to Ms Bagyenda.

The petitioner claimed that Ms Bagyenda owns various prime properties, including condominium plans at Makerere Hill Road and Sunderland Avenue in Bugolobi and plots of land at Kimera Close and Balikudembe Road.

Mr Kimeze tipped the IGG that Ms Bagyenda may not have officially declared the same properties to the IGG as required under the Leadership Code Act.

If Ms Bagyenda is found to have breached the Leadership Code Act, the unexplained properties may be confiscated by the government.

Section 5 of the Leadership Code Act states that a leader who commits a breach of the code under subsection (7) shall have the excess or undeclared property confiscated and forfeited to the government.

Although Ms Bagyenda was not readily available, when contacted, Ms Ali Munira, the spokesperson of the Inspectorate of Government, also confirmed that Ms Bagyenda was interrogated by the IGG. She however, declined to divulge details of the interrogation on grounds that the inquiry may be compromised.

"Yes I can confirm that she was here. Definitely it was to do with the matter under investigation [the alleged accumulation of wealth]. We cannot specifically say what the interview was about because that will not help but it was part of the process of the investigations we are conducting," Ms Munira.

Leadership Code

The Leadership Code Act demands that a person shall within three months after becoming a leader and thereafter every two years, during December submit to the IGG a written declaration of the leader's income, assets and liabilities.

Section (7) of the Leadership Code Act: Where a declaration is made by a leader in respect of himself or herself or any person under this section, where the leader or that person is found to be in possession of assets and income disproportionate to the known source of income which he or she cannot satisfactorily account for, the leader shall be taken to have breached this Code.

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