By Edwin Muhumuza
The parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises(COSASE) yesterday decided to set up a team that will read all documents that are mainly confidentially submitted from Bank of Uganda for purposes of scrutiny. Chairperson, Abdu Katuntu said there will be no photocopying or taking photos of the documents to avoid leaking them to the public.
‘I set up a two-man committee involving one person from the NRM and one from the opposition, Hon Twesiime and Hon Medard Ssegona. They are going to be handling the confidential issues supervised by the vice. However, this information is not restricted to them because even members may access it for purposes of reading. No reproduction, No photocopies or even phones…’Katuntu said.
Meantime, the committee also accused Bank of Uganda of wrongfully closing Teefe Bank in 1993. Hon. Katuntu said that the then Finance Minister Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi did not have the power to order its closure on grounds that he based on the Bank Act of 1963 instead of the Financial Institutions Statute of 1993.
And as legislators began to point out more faults and seemingly about to condemn the Central Bank officials, there were appeals for patience at this stage of the probe.
‘now that we have ascertained their responses about the law, we are not going to judge anything at this point, let’s go through the process until the end, before we can make conclusions because we shall have heard all the information we need’ Katuntu remarked.
Earlier Bank Of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile was faulted over wrong and contradictions in his response about the dates of the closure of Teffe Bank. What was reflected in the response was not accurate according to the committee chair, Abdu Katuntu who noted that it was closed on 4th November 1993, and not in February 1993 as reported.
This amid arguments about the different legal regimes they acted to close it;1969 Bank Act or the Financial Institutions Statute 1993.
Members expressed disappointment amid calls for the Bank officials to go on oath, thus invoking powers of a High court to penalize witnesses over the contradictions.
While members mulled at the circumstances surrounding the failure of the Teefe Bank, Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Mutebile revealed that he would not intend to reopen any of the defunct banks. This while responding to queries from Aruu county MP, Odonga Otto. ‘In principal, I would never dream of reopening a bank I have closed before.’
The committee will meet BOU officials every day except Saturday and Sunday until they are done.