Uganda: IGG Digs Into Wealth of 100 Bou Officials

Bank of Uganda (file photo)
18 October 2018

Kampala — The Inspector General of Government (IGG) is looking into the assets and liabilities of at least 100 top Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials, including the Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile and his deputy Louis A. Kasekende.

Details from the declaration of income, assets and liabilities forms link senior BoU officials to a number of property in upscale areas of Kampala, Wakiso and other areas. For instance, the declarations to the IGG also contain full details on where senior BoU officials got the money for buying the prime assets in question, including posh cars.

Background

While some BoU sources say a confidential Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) report on the suspicious wealth of Justine Bagyenda, the former BoU director for commercial bank's supervision, triggered the IGG verification, others pointed at the 'power struggle' between the IGG and the Governor.

Ms Bagyenda, who has since left BoU, is under a separate investigation by the IGG over allegations of illicit accumulation of wealth. The FIA investigated allegations of money laundering and submitted a confidential report to the IGG for further investigations. The IGG is still verifying her assets.

In March, the IGG, Justice Irene Mulyagonja, threatened to arrest the Governor and warned that should any official of Bank of Uganda decline to respond to her summons, an arrest warrant could be issued against that person.

Ms Mulyagonja's fallout with Mr Mutebile started in February when the Governor reshuffled staff in BoU and hired some new ones, leading to a complaint to the IGG about the procedure the Governor used.

Mr Mutebile, in response, told the IGG about the independence of BoU and said the IGG had no legal mandate to direct the Bank.

The IGG spokesperson, Ms Munira Ali, confirmed the verification exercise conducted within the confines of the Leadership Code Act and indicated that the IGG was validating income, assets and liabilities for Mr Kasekende and other BoU officials.

"We can investigate BoU because it is a public office. The IG investigates procedures, especially administrative, not technical... .We conduct verification of the leaders' declarations whenever they declare. Our target every year is to verify 100 public officials. This time round, we have some BoU officials whose declaration is being verified and they are aware because we informed them," she said.

Some BoU officials told the IGG that they picked loans from commercial banks yet others used their statutory salaries, savings from research, gratuity payments and travel allowances to build rentals and acquire other assets such as schools and commercial buildings which are currently under IGG scrutiny.

The BoU communications director, Ms Charity Mugumya, yesterday explained that "BoU employees at middle management level and above declare their income, assets and liabilities to the office of the IGG in line with the Leadership Code Act of 2002. Therefore, it is the personal responsibility of the managers to comply with the law."

The IGG investigators seek to validate the source of income as captured by BoU officials on the 2017 online declaration forms. The BoU officials, according to sources, will be cross-examined in trying to verify whether the income, assets and liabilities were not acquired using stolen public funds.

"When leaders declare, the information is usually verified on what they have declared. Because of resource constraints, however, we do not verify very many out of those declared in any particular period," Ms Ali said, adding: "The information declared is also used to support other investigations that are conducted by the IG [and other investigative organs]."

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