Uganda: Custodian Board Official Seal Missing As Ex-Chief Hands Over Stamp

The official seal used to authenticate documents being processed by the Departed Asians' Properties Custodian Board (DAPCB) remains missing as the former executive secretary, Mr Bernard Tumwesigire, only handed over the stamp to Parliament.

The select task force of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) that is investigating the mismanaged and dubious acquisition of departed Asians' properties had ordered Mr Tumwesigire to handover the seal and other office items on Friday last week.

Mr Tumwesigire, who claims he was illegally sacked by Finance minister Matia Kasaija in 2016 before being replaced a year later by Mr George William Bizibu, had told task force chaired by Mr Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East) that he retained the seal pending payment of his entitlements worth Shs1.4b.

But the Members of Parliament expressed concern over such a useful office equipment remaining in the hands of a former executive director, something they said may lead to fraud.

Yesterday, Mr Tumwesigire who had declined to handover through a preliminary objection sent to Mr Kazozi, however, showed up before the task force, and handed over the stamp insisting he does not have a seal.

Asked where the seal he claimed to have kept was, Mr Tumwesigire said; "I have never had any other seal apart from this."

He proceeded to hand over the stamp to Mr Kasozi.

The Committee then directed the police's Crime Intelligence Department personnel attached to Parliament to work with Minister Kasaija to find the seal within a week.

"I direct the CID to liaise with the chairman board to investigate whether Mr Bernard still has the seal or not and report back on August 20," Mr Kasozi ruled. Meanwhile, the MPs again grilled Mr Kasaija to explain why the chief coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation programme, Gen Salim Saleh, who is a coopted board member, for the second time failed to show up for the meeting.

The minister was also asked to explain why the board has since 2009 not relieved Gen Saleh of his membership after he requested so during a board meeting on April 8, 2010.

Mr Kasaija who was sitting on the same board as a presidential nominee before he automatically became board chair when he was appointed minister in 2015, said he was not aware of such a decision to keep hold of Gen Saleh.

"That question should be referred to the then chairperson. I don't know the reason why the board denied him (Gen Saleh) a chance to be relieved of his membership," he said.

MPs demanded that the minister finds a way of reaching out to Gen Saleh so that he appears next Tuesday.

The MPs will today interact with the directors of Temangalo Tea Estate who claim ownership of the 336 acres of land that businessman Amos Nzeyi sold to National Social Security Fund.

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