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COSASE seeks unedited Bank of Uganda CCTV footage

Members of Parliament on the Committee of Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise are scrutinizing video footage from Bank of Uganda CCTV. PHOTO VIA @Ninye_Mugisha

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has called for the unedited version of the CCTV footage showing a security breach, through which important documents were sneaked out of the Central Bank.

The documents were reportedly taken out of the bank premises by Justine Bagyenda, the former Bank of Uganda Executive Director in charge of Supervision. The initial footage showed Bagyenda’s personal bodyguard Juliet Adikot and driver Job Turyahabwe with three bags that were picked from the bank premises to Bagyenda’s vehicle on Sunday, February 11, 2018.

The footage which was replayed today shows Bagyenda walking out of her office, through the security scanner with the body guard running behind her. However, the bags were not subjected to any security check.

Members of the committee which is probing the irregular closure of banks fear that the bags could have been containing vital documents on the closure and sale of commercial banks between 1993 and 2017, as highlighted in a 2017 forensic audit report by the Auditor General.

The Report questioned the absence of asset movement schedules or ledgers indicating the bank assets at closure, the assets sold and their selling price, as well as performing and nonperforming loans. The committee has since also noted the absence of minutes on all transactions relating to the closure of the banks.

This afternoon Bagyenda confirmed that she individually packed the bags in question and asked the aides to take them to the car. However, the bodyguard said that the bags were too big to go through the scanners, yet she was not personally obliged to check the contents.

Yesterday, Bagyenda told the committee that the bags contained her personal documents which included MBA books, plaques, pictures, materials which she acquired from different conferences when she was a consultant. Other documents according to Bagyenda were files from the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) where she was a board member and others.

But she faulted the security personnel on duty for failing to subject the bags to a thorough check before they were driven out of the Bank of Uganda premises.

BOU Security Consultant Rwekikiga Asiimwe said that the institution’s security guidelines require employees to desist from taking actions that compromise the security of the Bank.

“Call people to see what you are loading, there is no document that is supposed to leave the bank without being sanctioned. Security takes the lead; every staff is obliged to ensure that they are checked,” Rwekikiga said.

However, the Bank’s Security Director Milton Opio said that what the MP’s had viewed was the edited version of the CCTV footage. He explained that the unedited footage shows that there could have been a well calculated move that involved lengthy and endless phone calls and suspicious movements within the precincts of the bank.

The revelation prompted Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona to demand that the security team avails the unedited version of the footage in order to ensure that no stone is left un-turned and to maintain the integrity of the committee. Committee Chairperson Abdul Katuntu ruled in favour.

Katuntu added that the committee was not only interrogating a lapse in security but trying to solve the puzzle of the missing documentation.

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