29 November 2018

Uganda: BoU Probe - Bagyenda Aides Arrested

Photo: Yoweri Museveni/Twitter
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni (file photo).

The parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) today ordered for the arrest of two aides to Justine Bagyenda, the former executive director supervision in Bank of Uganda.

Juliet Adikot, Bagyenda's personal body guard and her driver, Job Turyahabwe were arrested on the orders of Cosase chairperson Abdu Katuntu over allegedly sneaking out documents from BOU and then lying under oath before a parliamentary probe. The duo provided a statement to Cosase sub-committee that was contradicting the one provided by the BOU director of security Milton Opio about Bagyenda's movements.

It all started when they told the sub-committee chaired by Uganda People Defense Forces (UPDF) representative Brig Francis Takirwa that after ferrying bags from the central bank on Saturday, February 10, 2018, Bagyenda travelled abroad.

They claimed in their statement that; they picked Bagyenda up from Entebbe airport on her return in March 2018 and drove straight to the central bank on Kampala road.

However, details availed by Opio from the central bank's vehicle tracking system, show that Bagyenda's official V8 Land Cruiser vehicle registration number UAR 192Y left Mbuya for Entebbe airport at 7:18am on March 14, 2018.

The system shows that the vehicle left the airport at 12:03pm to Kiswa in Bugolobi where it was parked for 3 hours before heading to the central bank.

"It was in Kiswa from 13.57 to 16:59. At around 5pm, it starts moving at a rate of 12km/hr up to Kampala road which I suspect is Bank of Uganda at 6.22pm." Opio said.

Adikot and Turyahebwa were captured on CCTV entering the building with two heavy bags through the emergency door that was already opened without going through security checks and left with Bagyenda at 6:50pm.

The contradiction infuriated the Cosase chairperson Abdu Katuntu who accused Bagyenda's aides of perjury. He immediately directed officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) attached to the committee to arrest the two for criminal investigations.

He asked police to present weekly reports to the committee on the matter. The MPs also handed over two security officers from the central bank; Beatrice Kyambadde and Charles Muhoro to the CID officers for alleged negligence when they failed to check the bags of Bagyenda's aides out and back into the bank.

The BOU deputy governor Louis Kasekende assured legislators that the central bank is taking the matter seriously and is to carry out parallel investigations to get to the bottom of the matter.

"The breach of security is a very serious matter. There are a number of issues that have been revealed here. We have committees of the bank that will investigate in parallel to any investigations that have been directed by this [Cosase] committee. Two, I want to report that we have a lot of interest when things like these happen." Kasekende said.

Rule 20.6.15 of the Bank of Uganda security policy states that all persons shall go through security screening without exception. While rule 20.6.16 states that all items brought into the bank shall go through security screening without exception.

In their testimony to the Cosase sub-committee Adikot and Turyahabwe said they didn't know what they carried out of the central bank on behalf of Bagyenda.

"Adikot first carried a blue open kaveera [plastic bag], she said that she was more concerned with the security of the items and did not want to see what was inside. Also Turyahabwe said that he did not know what he carried," Brig Takirwa reported.

Takirwa pinned Adikot saying that she feigned knowledge of what was she moved out of the Bank yet she is seen on the CCTV carrying an open box with visible box files.

He further said that the other two security officers at the central bank, Beatrice Kyambadde and Charles Muhoro admitted to have allowed Bagyenda's aides move out of the bank premises with the bags without being checked but can't tell what was taken out or returned later.

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