Borrowers and owners of the defunct International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank whose properties were taken over and sold by Bank of Uganda irregularly and at giveaway prices, will have to wait a little bit longer for justice to be served.
According to CEO East Africa Magazine reported that the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has asked the Uganda Police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate to conduct further inquiries on the allegations made against former Bank of Uganda officials, in the irregular sale of the banks.
The case was opened by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (PAC – COSASE).
Some of the central bank officials that were recommended for prosecution include Dr Louis Kasekende, the former Deputy Governor; Mrs Justine Bagyenda, the former Executive Director, Commercial Bank Supervision; and Benedict Sekabira, the current Director Financial Markets Development.
“The case file was sent back to the Police in October with instructions to conduct further inquiries into the matter. The Police are supposed to resubmit the file for further perusal upon completion of the investigations,” Ms Jacquelyn Okui, the spokesperson of the ODPP told this reporter on phone.
Earlier, in a July 7th, 2020 letter, (Ref: HQS-CO-0191-2020), Mr Odiit Andrew, the Senior Assistant DPP and Head, Land Crimes Department at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions had asked police to round up, question and search the homes of the suspects.
It shall be remembered that one of the major issues probed by the MPs on Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), is why and how assets (loans) belonging to International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank Assets (loans) amounting to UGX 135 billion were sold to a company called, Nile River Acquisition Company (NRAC) at USD5.25m (Shs8.9bn), causing a loss of UGX126 billion, according to the Auditor-General. The sold assets included UGX34 bn of loans that had valid, legal and equitable mortgage supported by proper legal documentation. According to the AG, the UGX8.9bn sale price represented 26% of the total secured loan portfolio and 7% of the total loan portfolio.
The police are also supposed to investigate, how certificates of titles belonging to former clients of the above three defunct banks ended up in the possession of city lawyers, yet they were originally in the possession of the Central Bank, following the closure of the respective banks.
“For meaningful inquiries to be carried out, there is a need to ensure that the said certificates of title are recovered. We shall thus need the assistance of the court through Court Orders to properly facilitate our inquiries. These court orders may include criminal summons, warrants of arrest, search warrants etc., and yet these orders can only and properly be secured when we have a matter before the court. Therefore, in the meantime we need to have a case registered in court for that purpose for now,” Mr Odiit wrote.
“You are therefore directed to ensure that you prepare a charge sheet ready for court in respect to the offence of concealing a title deed C/S 278 of the Penal Code Act. There ought to be a count for each of the title deeds we currently have and from the complainants so far,” Mr Odiit wrote.
The officials to be rounded up, included, among others, the coordinators of the defunct commercial banks in liquidation, a one Ben Sekabira together with Polly K. Ndyarugahi his co-coordinator.
“Record statements from the former Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda one Louis Kasekende and one Justine. Bagyenda (Mrs). Evidence on record indicates that they were as well involved in this saga,” Oddit further ordered the police.
However, according to Ms Okui, following these orders, the DPP, received complaints from unspecified people, prompting the call for further investigations. “The DPP called for the case file after she received a complaint following these (Mr Odiit’s) instructions,” Okui said.
The CID Spokesperson, Twine Charles, promised to get back to CEO East Africa Magazine on the status of the investigations but had not yet done so by the time of publishing this story.
It is now almost two years since COSASE closed its investigations into the irregular sale of 7 defunct banks, with recommendations to punish the implicated officials, but nothing yet has been done.
SOURCE: CEO East Africa