By Kagenyi Lukka
The woes that are afflicting Louis Austin Kasekende, the embattled deputy governor of the bank of Uganda are far from the end, and all eyes are on state institutions such as parliament to either sanitize his highly polarizing actions at the institution or rise to the occasion and try to restore the glory at the central bank.
Kasekende’s appearance before parliament next week will mark a moment that Ugandans have been waiting for. The rushed takeover of crane bank in October 2016, the mysterious, reckless and disguised sale of crane bank on January 25th, 2017 left a lot of incomprehensible questions that are yet to be answered.
The absence of a convincing explanation about the crane bank saga was midwifed by the lack of an independent public report that could be trusted and relied on by several actors in the economy, the population and those with interest in understanding the genesis and exodus of the highly susceptible events.
Louis Kasekende oversaw the process whose result has been described in some circles as the banking scandal of the century. He was the immediate supervisor of Justine Bagyenda, the embattled former executive director for commercial bank supervising.
But all way through, Kasekende has put himself on an edged sword of adversities and several incidents as below belabored, signaled a person who acted suspiciously.
When Kasekende told half-truths about the economy
Ever since the arbitrary sale of crane bank at Uganda shillings 200 billion, Bank of Uganda officials competencies came under strong doubt from the public.
To shrug off this doubt, Kasekende took it upon himself tried to justify the closure of cbl and portrayed imaginary figures about the economy. This was in April 2018 while appearing at the 20 years anniversary dinner of Uganda Securities Exchange.
Of all his remarks, the most unpleasant one was when he put the growth of GDP in the last six months of 2017 at 6.9%. This was a stark contrast with the 6.3% that had been given by the Mr. Emmanuel Mutebile, the governor. So provokingly, He said this at a time when the price of cement had more than doubled and the economic gloom was all over. The poor performance of the economy was responsible for Uganda’s failure to attain middle-income status by 2020 as had been envisioned in the National Development Plan phase 2 as well stated in Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa’s 27-page letter to Hon Matia Kasaija.
Surely, the economy couldn’t boom when the country’s best indigenous commercial ban-crane bank was folding.
He then dishonestly remarked that cbl had collapsed due to internal management issues, something that is contested, and by the governor’s admission in an interview with Daily monitor’s Ivan Okuda, He (the governor) said he is not to blame but Justine Bagyenda who closely worked with Kasekende in the crane bank muddle.
When Kasekende attempted to block the audit
Acting suspiciously, Louis attempted with grossly remarkable tenacity to block the forensic audit hiding under sub judice rule which according to me had been misinterpreted. A public institution can’t decide whether it should be audited or not.
At the end of the audit, the 94 paged report revealed anomalies, areas of possible incompetence, collusion and fraud among others.
For instance the Ag observed that BoU did not follow any guidelines/regulations or policies in the sale of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank last year and in the closure of the other banks. The AG, Mr John Muwanga, also said the Central Bank did not carry out an evaluation of the assets and liabilities of Crane Bank before they were transferred to DFCU Bank.
The exposed loopholes brought him on the sharp edge of the sword.
Kasekende’s latest troubles
I believe that the discussion wouldn’t be so much heated if Kasekende’s stinking riches, mobile money transactions and his wife’s transactions were not exposed.
These, coupled with the Igg’s affluence on investigating his wealth and impeding grilling by the Abdu Katuntu led COSASE have worsened the fate of the abnormally rich deputy governor.
Finally, we lose nothing by acknowledging that we messed up at some point other than opting for a long journey that can result into condemnation. Louis can’t stay away from the truth as the sword sharpens.