- Crane Bank was liquidated to dfcu Bank in January last year after it had been taken over by BoU in October 2016 on account that its core capital had so shrunk that depositors’ savings were in danger.
- In April, Daily Monitor reported that the Auditor General had been instructed to do a broad forensic audit into operations of BoU and demand accountability for Shs200b, which the Central Bank injected into the collapsing Crane Bank before it was sold off to dfcu Bank.
Kampala. The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has overruled her deputy Jacob Oulanyah and blocked Bank of Uganda and Attorney General from stopping the Auditor General’s audit into the Central Bank operations.
On May 10, Ms Kadaga wrote to the Auditor General, Mr John Muwanga, to ignore those seeking to block the BoU audit.
She told Mr Muwanga to proceed with as previously instructed by the Parliament’s Committee on Commission’s Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises on November 28, 2017.
“The audit you were directed to conduct has nothing to do with BoU roles in the supervision of financial institutions. Audits are processes directed by the Constitution. I do not believe that there is any public institution created by the law in Uganda that is not subject to audit,” Ms Kadaga’s letter reads in part.
Mr Muwanga wrote back seeking guidance on how to proceed given that Mr Oulanyah had written to BoU on August 3, 2017 agreeing that Parliament would not conduct any inquiry into the Central Bank’s supervision and closure of liquidated commercial banks.
The Deputy Speaker had said any such inquiry would be stayed until all related cases have been disposed of in court.
Quoting Mr Oulanyah’s letter, BoU Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende also on April 19 wrote to the Attorney General protesting the audit into the liquidation process of Crane Bank, saying the matter was in court.
The Solicitor General wrote back on May 2, telling BoU not to cooperate with either the Auditor General or Parliament regarding the investigation into the sale of Crane Bank. He said any such inquiry would be subjudice.
The Shadow Attorney General, Mr Wilfred Niwagaba, and other MPs welcomed Ms Kadaga’s directive and described the attempts to block the audit into closure of Crane Bank as “a syndicate”.
“The Speaker has made a wise decision because blocking a forensic audit into BoU would militate against one of the core functions of parliament which is accountability. People like Kasekende should not panic unless they want to hide things,” Mr Niwagaba said.
“Such an audit would not prejudice any party to the case since it will establish the facts which would help both parties if they so wish to rely on them. The Attorney General is inferior to Parliament and should BoU officials decide to rely on the Solicitor General’s counsel and refuse to cooperate with Auditor General who acts for and in the name of Parliament, we shall see who is supreme,” he added.
In overruling Mr Oulanyah’s decision, which BoU was using to thwart the planned audit, Ms Kadaga said the committee request “is clearly distinguishable” from her deputy’s directive on BoU motion which was intended to be discussed in Parliament.
“I am of the strong opinion that where any institution needs clarification on a decision of Parliament, the right office to seek that clarification from must be the office the Speaker of Parliament,” Ms Kadaga stated.
The BoU director of communications, Ms Charity Mugumya, could not be reached for a comment as she did not respond to our telephone calls and text messages.
Her assistant, Mr Kelvin Kiyingi, neither denied nor confirmed whether BoU had received Ms Kadaga’s letter. Mr Kiyingi said he needed time to consult.
The Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga, was not available and his deputy Mwesigwa Rukutana said he was in Russia.
Last evening, Mr Muwanga confirmed receiving the Speaker’s clearance and indicated that the forensic audit would begin today.