Members of Parliament on the Select Sub Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) are carrying out an investigation into the Shs15 billion proceeds from the the sale of properties, which has reportedly gone missing from the accounts of the Departed Asians Property Custodian Board.
The legislators were on Wednesday meeting the finance minister Matia Kasaija who led a team of officials including the Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi to respond to several anomalies regarding the bank accounts. Also present were current Custodian board members including the Executive Secretary George William Bizibu.
Kasaija is the current chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Custodian Board.
The sub-committee chaired by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi is investigating among other issues fraudulent acquisition of properties facilitated by government officials. The MPs are also investigating the total amount of proceeds received from the sale and rent of the properties held by the board.
A key witness in the hearing was finance ministry undersecretary Betty Kasimbazi who took over supervision of the Custodian Board in 2007.
Kasozi told Kasimbazi that the Divestiture committee of the custodian board was relieved of its duties in January 2006 with its final report showing a balance of Shs15.3 billion from the sale of properties by December 2007.
Kasimbazi however disputed this figure noting that when she took over in 2007 she only inherited a total of Shs1.1 Billion on four different bank accounts.
MPs were curious as to why two of these collection bank accounts were held in Stanbic Bank a commercial bank despite the Board’s collection accounts being previously in the Bank of Uganda. Kasaija had told the committee that when he previously acted as a supervising officer in the late 90s the body had only one operational account and a collections account in the Central Bank.
Despite Muhakanizi pointing out that all accounts in commercial banks had been closed in 2103, Kasimbazi could not explain how the Stanbic Bank accounts had materialized or who had opened them.
Kasozi demanded accountability for the missing 15 billion shillings noting that the Custodian Board’s accounts do not show any compensations that could have depleted the accounts.
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