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Dirty secrets of Sh200 billion Crane Bank sale

Documents leak in Bagyenda, Mutebile fight

Kampala, Uganda |HAGGAI MATSIKO | An unprecedented revolt which happened recently at Bank of Uganda against the Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, has led to a spilling of the central bank’s darkest secrets and could potentially damage its reputation and hurt the economy.

At its centre is the embattled former Executive Director Supervision at the Bank, Justine Bagyenda.

Questions are being asked about why Bagyenda, whose contract expires in three month time, is so anxious to stay that she appears determined to defy Mutebile by dragging him to the Inspectorate of Government.

As the faceoff between Mutebile and Bagyenda rages, previously guarded documents of the central bank have been leaking. Among them is the heavily guarded agreement between Mutebile and DFCU Bank regarding the 2017 controversial takeover and sale of Crane Bank to DFCU for a paltry Shs200billion. At the time of sale, Crane Bank assets had been valued at Shs1.3 trillion.

Until now, Bagyenda’s job has allowed her to control key information pertaining to the deal and her fight to stay on is being seen as a desperate maneuver to influence how several court cases surrounding it play out in the courts.

But other significant documents that have leaked include details of Bagyenda’s accounts in various commercial banks and her alleged real estate properties have been splashed in the media. The point is clear; Bagyenda must be exposed as tainted, corrupt, and swimming in ill-gotten wealth.

The to and fro exposure of secrets comes at a time when Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and Enterprises (COSASE) has demanded an investigation into activities at the central bank.

It is also happening at a time when the central bank’s perceived successor to Mutebile, Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende has seen his star dip amidst allegations of impropriety and frustration over unrealised ambitions.

Observers say the various fights and distractions at the central bank are hurting its trustworthiness, credibility and efficiency and opening it up to bullying by politicians and other forces.

Mutebile has previously blamed Bagyenda for creating the Crane Bank mess.

He first gave indication of the fall out between him and Bagyenda in August last year in a newspaper interview. In the interview with Daily Monitor, Mutebile said while he would take responsibility for what went wrong with Crane Bank, he was not criminally culpable.

When asked who was, Mutebile replied: “Ask the (BoU) executive director for supervision (Bagyenda)”.

Insiders say, the public utterances exposed Mutebile’s behind the scenes work against Bagyenda.

Mutebile makeover surprise

Insiders say the Governor was holding meetings with among others, former Crane Bank owner, the business mogul SudhirRuparelia, and was not impressed by what he learnt about Bagyenda and other officials at the bank.

Mutebile spoke about a sense of complacency and the board agreed to his recommendations for reshuffles.

Mutebile was mooting transfers; especially of officials who had been on the job for long and were almost retiring. He was also keen to transfer the entire senior management in the directorate of supervision.

But when Mutebile’s health deteriorated around November last year, there was a sense of relief when he travelled abroad on sick leave.

When he returned in February many people were surprised by the change in him.

One comment

  1. Please remind me who now wins the “fake awards” that CB used to win.
    Fake news just .

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