Justine Bagyenda has up to Monday to show up or be arrested

By Edwin Muhumuza

Former Bank of Uganda Executive Director of Bank supervision ,Justine Bagyenda, has up to Tuesday next week at 10am to show up at parliament or face arrest. This after she snubbed the committee probing the sale of seven defunct banks by Bank of Uganda.

Being a key witness in the matter, her appearance was deemed so crucial since she was at that time in the early and mid 90’s responsible for the processes leading up to selling insolvent financial institutions.

On Thursday, while appearing before the committee on commissions ,state enterprises and agencies -COSASE, she irked the committee when she repeatedly sought to drag the governor Emmanuel Mutebile and the Board, into the controversial act at an early stage of the probe.

She was supposed to produce progressive reports detailing all activities/steps followed in the liquidation process of Greenland Bank ,which according to committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu, will guide them(legislators) on the dealings leading up to the sale of International Credit Bank(ICB) and Cooperative Bank.

However, emotions mounted when her and her successor, Twinemanzi Tumubweine traded accusations of whether she handed over all files to him amid denial ,that among the documents he was given, such reports were not included, before they were given up to today(23rd Nov) to produce them.

This morning, the committee was disappointed after she failed to attend, indicating in a letter sent to the governor, how she left the country last evening. Members sitting on the committee, accused her of contempt of parliament with some urging the chairperson to evoke powers of the committee to compel the witness to appear.

Others wondered why being cognizant of her importance ,did not notify the committee to grant her permission. In her letter, Bagyenda did not indicate what she was going to do abroad, where she was going and when she will be back.

Amidst this concern, Hon Peter Mugema Panadol,(Iganga Municipality) insisted that police should search for the documents, he said, Bagyenda could have fled with.

Hon.Francis Mwijukye (Buhweju county) sought to inform the committee that media reports had suggested that on Sunday last week, Bagyenda had been spotted at Bank of Uganda, and later seen putting documents in the back seat of her car ,a point committee chair ,Katuntu noted but cautioned the committee on entertaining hearsay.

It is thereafter members’ submissions that powers of the committee were evoked from the Constitution, Parliament power and privileges Act and Rules of Procedure to compel her to appear next week or else a warrant of arrest will automatically follow. The clerk to parliament’s office has also been requested to notify her through her known email address and telephone number. The committee has also directed Police to supply the committee with details of Bagyenda’s Travel from the immigration office.