Chris Tushabe, a businessman, has accused former and current Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials of blocking him from accessing his bank account details after the closure of now defunct Cooperative Bank.
This followed the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) investigation into the closure of seven banks by BoU, but without talking to the majority of the clients who had accounts in the said banks.
In pursuit of Justice, Tushabe petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga asking for a reinvestigation of BoU on matters of irregular closure of Cooperative Bank saying he had lost a lot of money and they had refused to pay him.
Kadaga asked Cosase to summon BoU governor Emmanuel Mutebile and other responsible officials to find justice for the old man. Last week, summons were served to them to appear before the committee on Thursday.
Cosase chairperson Mubaraka Munyagwa tasked Tushabe to narrate to the committee in presence of Mutebile and other officials how he was tossed about by BoU them in pursuing his money.
In his statements, Tushabe accused Justine Bagyenda, the former Executive Director Banking Supervision and Bernard Ssekabira, Director Financial Markets of frustrating and selling off his property although the documents indicated that he owed no loans to the defunct Cooperative Bank.
Tushabe told the committee that even when President Museveni in 1999 issued a directive to BoU that all clients of Cooperative Bank be paid their money, he has never been paid 20 years later. Instead, he has been in court battles which have not helped him.
“Bank of Uganda has absolutely no reason to hold my legitimate money and property. In November 1998, my then 26-year-old accountant was taken off a night bus, brutally murdered and his mutilated body dumped in Queen Elizabeth National Park. He was on his way from a reconciliation exercise with Bank of Uganda officials in Kampala and my accounts documents were the only thing missing,” Tushabe said.
Tushabe also accused Bank of Uganda of pressurising him to sale Emin Pasha, a multi-billion property in Nakasero cheaply. He was however shocked when he received a notice in 2018 demanding him Shs424m or risk going to jail.
“Although I have fought the war, I’m seriously bruised and wounded. BoU admitted that my property worth Shs1.4bn was mismanaged. By 1998, I was a high profile businessman. I have refused being compromised to pay bribes which were an option available. Through all these, I have remained determined to get justice from BoU but all in vain,” he said adding that in pursuit for his money, his life has been at risk and survived a number of assassinations. In one incident, his business colleague was murdered in what was an apparent case of mistaken identity.
“This gives you an idea of the fear and hostile atmosphere in which I have pursued my money from BoU for more than 20years. When BoU took over Cooperative Bank, officials refused to give me copies of my bank accounts. BoU’s denial of justice to me and release my bank account documents is because officials who had mismanaged the Cooperative Bank were retained to liquidate the bank that they had run down,” said the old man.
He finally told the silent committee that he only wants BoU to refund the Shs3bn he had on his account at an interest rate of 25 per cent as of 19th May 1999.
He also demands Shs600M which he paid in bank draft which ended up being swallowed by fraudsters at the Central Bank and monthly income rental of Shs5m per property from May 1999.
Having narrated his allegations, Munyagwa asked Mutebile for a response. Mutebile declined to make an oath on an argument that he was not ready to speak.
“Let us not make an issue here. I am not speaking today. I am not going to speak today because I hadn’t been prepared for the questions asked.”
However, Munyagwa insisted on having Mutebile take an oath.
“We made a ruling that whoever is testified for must take an oath. Oath isn’t a punishment. I don’t think there is any impunity that will be tolerated. I am one of the people that respect Mutebile most, but nobody will testify here without taking an oath,” Munyagwa said.
In defence of Mutebile, the Director Legal Affairs at BoU Margaret Kasule told the MPs that Tushabe had raised several claims which are subject to court proceedings and there is need to check for documents in the archives to respond to him.
Mutebile also asked for more time because ‘these are serious matters, we have to search for archives.’
He will reappear before the committee after two weeks.
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