State House Anti-Corruption Unit head Col. Edith Nakalema was led into the siege on Post Bank Ltd, and consequently signed off an April 5 inquiry against the bank’s top managers “following misrepresentations by a jilted suspended top manager”.
According to records at Bank of Uganda accessed by this website, Post Bank Ltd officials have indicated that the bank’s suspended General Manager for Finance and Administration, Mr Jackson Mwesigwa, has sought to turn tables against internal action against him, by “facilitating a counter inquiry”.
Mr Mwesigwa was suspended from duty on March 26 after he was accused of among others, failing to file the annual books of accounts on time, and passing them on to the board late, failure to provide annual budgets on time and insubordination.
Apparently, Mr Mwesigwa on February 7 refused sign off a written warning from the MD, leading to his suspension on March 26, along side nine other officials including the head of sales, with the MD Mr Stephen Mukweli ordering an internal audit.
Mr Mwesigwa, who has served Post Bank in various capacities for about 14 years and built an aura of invincibility, was not going take it lying down and has since reportedly released information that triggered Col. Nakalema’s inquiry.
Officials have now, in various explanations to Bank of Uganda, and the police Criminal Investigations Directorate (CIID), which is leading the inquiry explained that the allegations in Col. Nakalema’s whistleblower document are skewed and have provided extensive clarifications.
For example, the document, which is targeting Post Bank Managing Director Mr Stephen Mukweli, and his two deputies, alleges that the MD paid himself falsified leave emoluments in the years of 2007, 2008 and 2009.
But the record shows that the pay was processed by the Human Resources Department in accordance with the MD’s contract and has been declared as a non issue by the internal audit. Queries have also been raised over why the issue is emerging nine years later.
“The timing is intended to mask a recent board action against the head of Finance,” an official said.
The document also sought to fault the MD for payment of Shs848 million to the IT firm Compulynx, that has provided an E-Suite Solution to the bank which has four components – Field Payments, Biometric Over the Counter, Agency Banking, and Instant Card Issuance — in the project worth Shs5.7 billion.
It is understood that by December 2018, the project implementation was rated at 80 per cent and the vendor invoices for 15 per cent payment which was cleared by the bank’s IT department.
“The MD authorised the payment as per the contractual obligations,” a senior official explained during a meeting at Bank of Uganda on April 8, according to the records seen by this website.
The document also seeks to fault the MD for clearing a pay out to a commission agent, cleared by the board under the bank’s commission structure and several other payments cleared under the the authority of the suspended Finance chief Mwesigwa.
Accordingly, the bank’s top managers have since through Bank of Uganda provided extensive explanations to the CIID detectives led by Commissioner of Police James Ocaya, but officials that have interacted with the detectives are worried that the police is interested in a particular line despite the facts on the ground.
Officials question why the suspended Finance chief Mr Mwesigwa, a key cog in all the payments under inquiry has not been invited to interact with the police detectives to account for his role.
Public fears are now abound that Bank of Uganda, yet to recover from a gruelling parliamentary inquiry that exposed top officials and shook public confidence in the central bank’s capacity may look on as the inquiry stabilises yet another commercial bank that employs more than 1,000 people.
In the aftermath of Col. Nakalema’s surprising siege on the bank on April 5, the Bank of Uganda sought to allay fears that the investigations could jeopardise customers money.
A statement issued by the deputy governor Dr Louis Kasekende indicated that The Bank of Uganda is working very closely with investigative teams and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that the services and operations of Post Bank Uganda Ltd are not interrupted.
The announcement of an investigation had a possibility of causing some customers to withdraw their money from the bank fearing that it could collapse.
Despite assurances by the BoU that the investigation will have no impact on the day-to-day running of the bank, the public fears that BoU may just look on and fail to handle the fall out from the inquiry.
In the run up to closer of several banks in the past, Bank of Uganda and the affected banks would issue similar statements assuring the customers that all is normal and few days later, official announcements would emerge that operations at the affected banks are suspended.
The latest being the former Crane Bank where Bank of Uganda officials issue similar statements and shortly after that, instigated the bank’s closure and selling to dfcu Bank in January 2017.
Crane Bank‘s majority shareholder, Sudhir Ruparelia is battling the central bank and DFCU in attempts to regain control of their bank.
About Post Bank Ltd:
Post Bank is owned by the Uganda government with 100 per cent shareholding. It is limited by shares and formed under the Public Enterprises Reform and Divestiture Statute of 1983 and the Uganda Communications Act, 1997 and incorporated under the Companies Act in 1998.
The government says it is an important institution it lends money to small and medium enterprises and individuals who may not be able to get money from bigger banks because of their risk profile.