12 December 2018

Uganda: Parliament Rejects Museveni Call for Secret Bank of Uganda Probe

Parliament — Members of Parliament investigating the closure of seven commercial banks have rejected a proposal by President Museveni to conduct their inquiry in camera and insisted the proceedings will be conducted in the open.

In his first public comments about the ongoing inquiry into Bank of Uganda (BoU) on Monday, Mr Museveni questioned the decision by Parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) to conduct the investigations openly. Cosase is seeking to establish whether BoU followed the law in closing seven commercial banks.

The President admitted that he has had "problems" with BoU, which he declined to divulge, but said inquiries into wrongdoings at the central bank should have been done behind closed doors.

"I think the procedure is wrong, because this is Bank of Uganda. If you want to investigate it, why don't they do it quietly because you can investigate in camera so that what people see is action, not endless arguments. Whereas the inquiry is good, the committee is doing it in a wrong way," Mr Museveni said.

He said he is yet to interface with the Speaker of Parliament over the committee's public inquiry proceedings.

However, Cosase MPs yesterday rejected Mr Museveni's suggestion and warned that closed-door proceedings would "fuel speculation" given the controversy surrounding the closure of some commercial banks.

"We have kept our word right from the beginning that all information that will come to our possession as confidential, we shall keep it as such [and] as of today, no one will accuse us of leaking any confidential information that we have received because we know that BoU is the regulator of a very sensitive sector, which operates on the confidentiality to some extent," said committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu.

Mr Katuntu said if there are any specific inquiries that need to be handled in camera, the committee will consider them on a case-by-case basis and make a "judicious" decision.


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