By Kagenyi Lukka
Ever since the purported sale of crane bank to DFCU early 2017, I have been convinced to believe that Justine Baggyenda was culpable and should have been investigated and prosecuted months back.
Troubles for the runaway and disgraced former executive director for commercial bank supervision at Bank of Uganda further widened after she was pinned for stealing bags of vital documents from the central bank.
This shocking revelation was yesterday made by Milton Opio, the director of Security at Bank of Uganda while appearing before parliament’s standing committee on commissions, statutory
Authorities and state enterprises (cosase). Milton Opio revealed that on 11th February 2018, Bagyenda’s assistants including the driver and bodyguard sneaked out three bags of documents from BoU under the watch of CCTV cameras. Only two bags were returned back according to BoU’s security which impliedly means that the bag containing reports on assets and liabilities of closed is still hidden by Bagyenda, and most probably, under her bed.
Cosase, which is investigating irregularities that engulfed the closure of commercial banks 1993-2017, had earlier on tasked the governor, Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile to explain if there had been any security breach at Bank of Uganda.
These followed unyielding demands to BoU by the committee to produce quarterly progressive reports of assets of all banks closed between 1993 and 2017. Neither the current Director for supervision nor Bagyenda could produce the reports despite information that they had been given to Bagyenda.
Mr. Opio’s submission is another indictment on Justine Bagyenda who is most likely to face criminal charges for illicit enrichment, corruption, embezzlement and money laundering should the financial Intelligence Authority and the Inspectorate proceed to the next stage after investigations.
Is Bagyenda hiding in Nairobi?
Bagyenda, who was expected to appear before cosase yesterday once again arrogantly and contemptuously snubbed the committee proceedings and was represented by her conflicted lawyer, Robert Kirunda of Kirunda Wesige and Company Advocates(I will explain Kirunda’s conflict of interest in my next article).
In her letter, Bagyenda who sneaked out of the country insists that she is in the US to attend the International Trauma Conference in the Us, Texas. The conference is purportedly organized by the World Federation of Mental Health and runs between 27th to 30th November 2018. Is Bagyenda a patient or a facilitator?
Committee chair Abdu Katuntu gave her up to Thursday this week to appear before the committee before the warrant of arrest is issued.
However, sources linked to the external security organization in
Nairobi-Kenya, Bagyenda is in hiding there and closely following the activities of the ongoing probe.
Contrary what her lawyer had said, details at hand from Entebbe International Airport indicate that Bagyenda on November 22nd through Entebbe Airport destined for Amsterdam. When she reached Amsterdam, Bagyenda flew to Mauritius and then Nairobi.
Mauritius is a leading international tax haven and is critical to this probe because it’s where the Nile River Acquisition Company, a ghost company that bought some assets of the defunct banks.
The banks whose assets were snapped up at a 93% discount are; International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999) and the Co-operative Bank (1999). Did Bagyenda travel to make more concealment of her dubious deals or it was an escape?
The warrant of arrest should be issued against Bagyenda wherever she is so that she is brought back to account. Arresting her will serve as a warning to other officials that committed fraud in this process. I also believe that the committee needs to proceed with the work and this can only be successful if key witnesses and actors cooperate and are present.