BoU-Defunct Banks Saga: Police, DPP Chicken Out On Arresting Sekabira

The Uganda Police Force (UPF) and office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have either failed to arrest or chickened out on Bank of Uganda director Benedict Sekabira, who was summoned to the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) Kibuli, three weeks ago, but he has never responded to the summons.

Bernard Sekabira, the Director of Financial Markets at Bank of Uganda, was summoned on orders of the DPP Jane Francis Abodo who sanctioned charges against several top current and former BoU officials over allegations of concealing land titles that they seized from Crane Bank and other commercial banks which were closed by the Central Bank.

Sekabira is among the BoU officials who were summoned by the CID to record a statement about the matter, although the list of wanted suspects also includes former Deputy Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende, the former Executive Director for Supervision Justine Bagyenda and several others, who all have to answer questions regarding the closure and disposal of assets of some of the seven banks.

The investigation stems from a report compiled by the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises, which pinned several BoU officials on allegations of having closed and sold Crane Bank plus other commercial banks under dubious circumstances.

The same report was sanctioned by the Auditor General John B. Muwanga, who advised the police to arrest and investigate the individuals pinned by the COSASE findings, although the police have never reacted to date.

The COSASE report that was presented to the House in November 2019 and adopted by Parliament recommended that the Central Bank officials involved in the sale of loan portfolios for the five defunct banks be held liable and prosecuted.

The Banks that were sold under dubious circumstances include; Green land bank, Global Trust Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, Crane Bank and National Bank of Commerce.

The report pinned Sekabira and former Executive Director Bank Supervision Justine Bagyenda as people who had conflict of interest in the transaction.

A letter from the CID dated July 27, 2020 r from CID Headquarters to Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile pertaining to Sekabira’s summons reads in part thus;

“This is to inform you that the Director public Prosecutions sanctioned the matter for the suspect to appear in Court and the purpose of this communication is to request you release Mr. Benedict Sekabira to report at CID headquarters on July 30, 2020, such that he can be produced in court for the charges of concealing title deeds under Sections 278 of the Penal Code..”

However, despite the letter to Prof. Mutebile, Sekabira has never reported to the CID or been paraded in court and the police are yet to take action over the matter.

While the police play hide and seek with Sekabira, it should be noted that the DPP also indicted Bagyenda and Kasekende, who have never responded to the summons, although the police show no interest in either pursuing the matter or at least making them record statements.

We have learnt that the DPP tasked the police to arrest and search the homes of both Sekabira and Bagyenda, because intelligence reports indicate they were involved in fraudulent transfer of certificate of tittles belonging to the former clients of defunct banks, but the police detectives handling the matter have since buried their heads in sand.

The DPP wrote a letter dated July 7 to the CID Director Grace Akullo, sanctioning the arrest and seizure of all relevant documents belonging to Bagyenda and Kasekende on obtaining a court order but either Akullo is sleeping on the job or she adamantly rejected the DPP’s orders.

The DPP’s letter reads in part thus; “Obtain a Court Order to search and seize all relevant documents, computers from offices and or homes of the suspects for and useful pieces of evidence since they have refused to cooperate…”

The DPP also directed the police to obtain and retrieve documents detailing all transactions between River Acquisition and SIL Investment Limited and all statements from the former Deputy Governor Dr. Kasekende, who is also suspect in the matter.

The DPP also wrote that; “The Auditor General should be asked to carry out a specific forensic audit to establish whether or not the continued charging of interest on loans when the banks are in liquidation is irregular since the banking business stops at the time of closure.

Provide a list of loan portfolios demanded by Bank of Uganda from respective borrowers of the defunct banks in its capacity as the liquidator before Nile River Acquisition Limited took over and retrieve certified copies of certificates of title complained of from Commissioner Land Registration, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. This is aimed at establishing the current position of the titles.”

According to the DPP, the investigators should establish the relationship between Bagyenda, Kasekende and the three companies involved the acquisition of assets and liabilities that belonged to the seven commercial bank.

Besides Kasekende, Bagyenda and Sekabira, the other suspects in the case include companies and personalities like; Kakembo Katende and all his associates/partners trading as Ms Kirkland Associates, Nanyonga Evelyn and all her co-Directors in SIL Investment Limited, plus the coordinators of the defunct Banks in liquidation Ben Sekabira, Polly K. Ndyarugahi his co-coordinator, Octavian Advisors and other Bank of Uganda associates, who all face prosecution.

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