Uganda: BoU Security Director Links Bagyenda to Missing Reports

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (file photo).
28 November 2018

Parliament — The troubles of Ms Justine Bagyenda, the former director of supervision at Bank of Uganda, yesterday deepened further after Mr Milton Opiyo, the Central Bank's security director, pinned her on the disappearance of critical documents from the bank.

Mr Opiyo told the Parliamentary inquiry that Ms Bagyenda's driver and bodyguard entered BoU's head office on Kampala Road in the evening of February 11 and made off with a cache of documents in three bags.

The Parliamentary committee investigating alleged irregularities by the Central Bank in the closure of seven banks have for days stalled as BoU officials wrangled over who was in possession of the missing critical documents--liquidation reports on the defunct banks which contain their assets taken over at the time of closure.

Mr Opiyo indicated that when CCTV footage was played, it showed Ms Bagyenda's driver and bodyguard retrieving three bags of documents from the bank and depositing them in Ms Bagyenda's car.

Two bags were returned to the bank the next day, Mr Opiyo said, but security personnel at the bank were unable to verify whether the returned bags had any documents or what sort of documents had been taken out.

"We played back the cameras, we found that bags were ferried from BoU to Bagyenda's car. We wanted to start the search at her home to find out what kind of documents were taken but didn't because security had not seen the type of documents. We consulted and we [concluded] that if we go and do a search at [her] home, we may be embarrassed because we had issues where she [Bagyenda] said she was being witch-hunted," Mr Opiyo said.

The Bank of Uganda governor, Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, said Ms Bagyenda had complained of being witch-hunted and was provided with security by the bank.

Mr Mutebile also promised to launch an investigation into how a confidential letter about key documents he wrote to the inquiry committee Chairman was leaked by BoU staff to social media sites even before he signed it off.

"Because of the points she made that there were allegations of harassment [and] witch-hunt, Ms Bagyenda requested for special security measures for her protection pending the resolution of Crane Bank cases and BoU agreed to maintain her security until December 31," Mr Mutebile told the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) that is investigating the disputed closure of seven banks.

Ms Bagyenda is currently abroad and the committee has issued a two-day ultimatum for her to either show up tomorrow or face arrest warrants by Interpol.

The MPs yesterday questioned the integrity of the country's monetary system, warning that BoU staff can even spirit off with chunks of money given the security lapses at the central bank.

To prevent any further loss of documents, Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye suggested that Ms Bagyenda's homes be put under lock and key by police.

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