By Mike Ssegawa
You don’t need a genius to tell you that Bank of Uganda is a rotten institution. And that the fights between Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and his former director of supervision Justine Bagyenda are rather indicators of the stench within the central bank.
Governor Mutebile and Ms Bagyenda are both naked, and efforts by the Inspectorate of Government in their conflict is rather too late, if all she wants to settle is who sits in what position! She should be able to take a massive investigation into the affairs of the BoU and be ready to tell it all. If not, why even waste time?
For several years, reports have been coming out that Uganda’s financial sector was sick. The patient suffered multiple organ failure leading to several banks collapsing including Crane Bank, National Bank of commerce, Global trust Bank among others. Bank of Uganda always comes out with a bold face. Shuts banks. And life continues. They never say what went wrong and help prevent future occurances.
The winding down of the banks would be taken in public interest if reports of cannibalism in the Bank of Uganda didn’t come out. For all banks that were shut down, BoU never gave a full accountability on how the process was handled. It only emerged after Crane Bank closure that actually closing banks was a lucrative business for BoU and it’s officials. This explains why the process is handled quietly.
The case has been that when banks are closed the officials in BoU do not care about the interests of shareholders, which by their mandate they should protect just as they safeguard the interests of depositors.
Instead of trying to save banks from collapsing, now we know BoU bosses celebrate the moment as it is an opportunity to loot.
In the case of Crane Bank, leaked documents show BoU bosses making mafia like sharing of the loot with DFCU managers with reckless abandon, to the extent of sharing property that do not belong to the defunct bank.
Thank God unlike other smaller banks they had swallowed in the past, Crane Bank was harder meat to chew…so the fights in the central bank are about burying the shame and humiliation of poorly kept secrets.
The “blame game” after exposure is what is throwing former allies into panic.
Mutebile believes he can bury the skeletons by firing Bagyenda and Bagyenda believes she cannot allow Mutebile to do as he pleases. She knows both are complicity. Mind you, there is also a Sh600 billion loan portfolio that the central bank never accounted for, but have given to DFCU to manage on their behalf. This money goes back to the Central Bank but it’s not clear how it’s accounted for since BoU isn’t a commercial bank to do business. This portfolio is a good catch that even lawyers involved in this case, have some honey amounting to 6% on every recovered loan. This is a case of a fat animal stolen in the night which unfortunately the hunters have failed to agree on sharing until morning breaks. Instead of the looters abandoning the meat, unfortunately they stay around fighting until the owner emerged to claim his animal. Will they return it to life or give him back the meat with damages?
The noise emerging out of the Bank of Uganda, will surely come to an end, albeit with heads paying for it. And as more government agencies get drawn into the matter, neither Bagyenda nor Mutebile will be in their jobs for long. They might have to go the Gen Kale Kayihura and Gen Henry Tumukunde style.
The president will have to do the job Ugandans hired him to do in 2016, and clean Bank of Uganda. He will have to sweep the central bank of all thieves and tyrants who are not interested in protecting the economy and the people of Uganda. These are fortune hunters.
Between Mutebile and Bagyenda, none of the two is a saint. They are part of the rot that is in the Bank of Uganda which need to be cleaned in order to have a healthy and robust economic policies.
If the IGG is interested in the BoU, let her be ready to touch the filthy, and turn it upside down. And let her have the teeth to bite any object she finds as being the cause of the rot in one of the most important pillars that build the country.