Uganda: You Took Over BoU Lawyers Work, MPs Tell Bagyenda

10 January 2019

Kampala — The MPs on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) yesterday accused Ms Bagyenda of usurping the powers of the legal department after discovering that she took over the drafting of the terms of engagement between Bank of Uganda (BoU)and MMAKS which documents could not be traced.

The committee chairperson, Mr Abdu Katuntu, ruled that Governor Tumusiime Mutebile will appear and explain the process that led to the drafting of the terms of engagement between BoU and MMAKS Advocates to handle the disputes triggered by the closure of Crane Bank.

"You [Bagyenda] carried out functions and mandate which were not yours. I see so many illogical things which were happening at BoU. So many strange things. We will have to ask the Governor when he comes where that letter is," Mr Katuntu said.

The matter of legal firms that represented Bank of Uganda against Crane Bank have been of particular interest to the committee because private lawyers are demanding more than Shs25b for legal services offered to the Central Bank.

The law firms include MMAKS, Bowman's Uganda, Cohen and Collins Solicitors and Notaries and Sebalu & Lule Advocates.

There is particular interest in MMAKS because BoU hired the law firm as a transaction adviser in the disputed takeover of Crane Bank at $251,045 (about Shs943.3m) with MPs now questioning why the central bank opted to use external lawyers and ignore the bank's internal legal department.

Ms Justine Bagyenda, BoU's former Executive Director for Supervision, told a parliamentary committee investigating the disputed closure of commercial banks that the bags she carried out of the central bank premises contained personal documents and not classified files.

Ms Bagyenda told MPs on Cosase that the bags captured by closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras contained personal effects like pictures, plaques, academic materials and personal files. She denied taking away any classified banking information from Bank of Uganda.

The Bank of Uganda CCTV footage of the events on the evening of February 11, 2018 showed Ms Bagyenda's driver and bodyguard entering BoU's head office on Kampala Road and taking out a cache of documents in three bags which they deposited in her car.

Ms Juliet Adikot (bodyguard) and Mr Job Turyahabwe (driver) are being investigated by parliamentary police which is expected to submit a report to the committee.

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