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COSASE directs finance ministry to refund UGX 800M to custodian board

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has tasked the Ministry of Finance to refund 800 Million Shillings to the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board taken after the closure of the International Credit Bank (ICB).

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on Thursday appeared before the committee of COSASE chaired by Makindye East MP Ibrahim Kasozi. The committee is currently investigating irregularities in the Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board.

The minister appeared in his capacity as the chairman board of directors for Departed Asians Properties Custodian Board.

According to MP Kasozi, the board planned to use the 800 Million Shillings for investment but the bank was closed in 1998 and money taken over by the Central Bank.

The ICB is one of the seven defunct banks which were questionably closed by the Central Bank. In 2018, Parliament learned that Bank of Uganda (BoU) closed ICB without an inventory report detailing the state of affairs of the bank.

“The Executive Secretary of the Custodian Board George William Bizibu says finance took the money. This has remained a query by the Auditor General and you must use your position to have the money returned,” Kasozi told Minister Kasaija.

Kasaija told MPs that he would provide a written response next week after being briefed by the technical personnel about the funds in question. He noted that the investigations had helped him learn a lot of things that nobody in the custodian board was providing him.

Meanwhile, the committee was unsuccessful in its effort to trace 15 billion Shillings that was raised from the sale of properties that later reverted to the government after being compensated or redeemed.

Betty Kasimbazi, the former Under Secretary in the Ministry of Finance said that by the time she was handed responsibility to oversee the Custodian Board, the operations account in the Central Bank had 800 million, the divestiture committee revolving account also in Central Bank had 345 million and that there was no balance on the collections account in Stanbic Bank.

But MPs say that 15 billion Shillings was raised from the sale of 1524 properties and were on the collection account in Bank of Uganda.

Kasimbazi insisted that the biggest chunk of money must have been spent before she started her responsibility since it was coming in from property per property sale from 1993 to 2005.

She however asked for more time to dig up the archives in the Ministry of Finance for an instrument that gave her authority to access the accounts.

The committee gave her up to Friday to submit the evidence. She was further directed to provide a list of compensations that the Custodian Board made when she was still the Under Secretary and overseeing it between 2005 and 2010.



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