By Andrew Visper
Following a petition by one Chris Tushabe Karobwa who says he lost several billions and assets when Cooperative Bank was closed, Parliament speaker Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises – COSASE to revisit his issue.
Kadaga’s directive comes months after she stopped COSASE chairperson Mubarak Munyagwa and the sub-committee he set up to be chaired by Ibrahim Kasozi from reopening a probe into Bank of Uganda’s closure of seven commercial banks as it had been concluded his predecessor Abdu Katuntu.
Kadaga blocked Munyagwa following petitions from “concerned citizens” who felt revisiting a just concluded probe would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. Munyagwa had also not sought clearance from Kadaga’s office.
The seven banks include; Teefe Trust Bank , International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, Greenland Bank, Global Trust Bank Uganda, National Bank of Commerce and Crane Bank Limited. They were closed between 1993 and 2016.
In February this year, the then COSASE chairperson, Katuntu presented a report on the matter, which among other issues demanded action against culprits, proposed changes in BOU and also noted the inadequate accountability on the shillings 478 billion BOU invested in Crane Bank Limited before it was sold to DFCU Bank at shillings 200 billion in 2016.
The matter was then put to rest, pending action of recommendations in the probe report, but in a letter dated 26 July, 2019, Kadaga has written to COSASE chairperson, Munyagwa to consider hearing Tushabe’s appeal as he alleges that the Bank of Uganda mismanaged issues of the Cooperative Bank in receivership causing him heavy financial loss.
Former COSASE Chairperson Abdu Katuntu.
Karobwa says Katuntu’s committee did not conclude matters pertaining to his issue.
In Karobwa’s June 15 letter to Kadaga, he said he has been a victim of BOU fraud and that his “risky contribution in fighting and exposing corruption in BOU should not simply be washed away to benefit wrong doers.”
He requested Kadaga to reverse her decision against reopening the BoU probe because ‘thieves’ must be punished.
“The President’s wish to help me has been frustrated by manipulation of questionable legal technicalities by BOU management,” he appealed.
Karobwa claims that when Cooperative Bank was closed in 1997, he lost over Shs3 billion in cash and property worth shillings 1.42 billion and an overdraft of Shs600m, which he never used but BOU officials forced him to pay under duress. He adds that he made the payments with the hope of getting his properties released, but all that was in vain.
“My properties were not released because the BOU officials involved in this exercise were virtuous beneficiaries in the illegal sale of my properties,” says Karobwa.
Karobwa’s only for redress is by having Parliament revisit the matter that has been pending for over two decades.
The Katuntu-led committee report into BOU, noted that some customers of the defunct banks petitioned the committee over irregular use of sale of securities, withholding of securities upon clearance of obligations.
The Committee concluded that “the management of securities during liquidation process has not been fully transparent. Indeed, BoU itself is still in possession of certificates of title which they have failed to explain.”