Parliament confiscates Bagyenda’s passports
- Written by Joseph Olanyo
The former Bank of Uganda director of supervision for commercial banks at Bank of Uganda, Justine Bagyenda, has been ordered to deposit her two passports with parliament.
Bagyenda was today, Monday December 3, appearing before the parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), which is probing the controversial closure of seven commercial banks by the central bank.
Earlier, MPs on the Cosase had also wanted that Bagyenda be confined until the probe is over. However committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu did not rule on her confinement.
“Ms Bagyenda, you will be required to deposit both passports with parliament. I decline to use any powers of confinement. Let us have this process go on, she has apologised and in the letter she told us she will be here, and now she is here. We should not go beyond confinement.” Katuntu ruled.
Bagyenda who earlier apologised to the committee for failure to appear last week as required, promised to be around until the BOU probe is over. She also requested the committee to free her aide, Juliet Adikorit and driver Job Turyahebwa who were arrested and detained last week. The two were arrested for giving false evidence on oath.
Katuntu however declined to grant her the request, saying justice is about the law taking its course.
“Both your driver and bodyguard lied on oath and it is a criminal offence. The matter was forwarded to police for management. However, the substantive issue of bags allegedly containing documents being sneaked out of the bank is still on table for investigation. We don’t set people free, the law will take its course. It is a big lesson to your colleagues not to lie on oath,” Katuntu said.
During the probe, Bagyenda was asked if she had the portfolio property per property before devaluating them.
“You steal documents and then you ask your successor to look for the same to explain queries”
“You know, I am an old woman that is why I retired. It is a long time and for the past week, my head has been turning around and around” Bagyenda said.
Bagyenda was forcefully retired in February this year at the time when her name was still commanding headlines especially about her role in the closure of Crane bank. Bagyenda who was supposed to appear before Cosase on November 23, but did not show up, saying she had travelled abroad.
She reportedly travelled to Amsterdam, Mauritius and Nairobi until she was served with summons. In her letter to BoU governor and Cosase committee, Bagyenda had indicated that she would not able to appear before the probe because she was on a business trip until December 13.
Upon receipt of the letter indicating her trip, the MPs were furious, prompting Cosase chairperson, Katuntu to issue fresh summons requiring her to appear on November 27 without fail or face arrest.
“Hon. sir, the current engagement (international summit) I am on, was planned long before the governor's communication and it is core to my private life. On account of my said engagement and the fact that my air ticket is restricted, I strongly regret my inability to appear before the Cosase on Tuesday November 27, 2018. My scheduled date of return is December 13, 2018. However, I am working with the airline to get a quick alternative using my restricted ticket,” read part of Ms Bagyenda’s letter dated November 27.
She said she did not indicate her return date in the first letter because of her personal security concerns.
“With regard to the fact that I did not state in my letter the date of my return, kindly note that I did it on purpose because of security reasons and the relevant security agencies are aware of my security concerns,” writes Bagyenda.
Imagine a government run by such idiocy. There is a presumption of innocence in Ugandan law.
Katuntu does not know what perjury is. Conflicting evidence does not mean witnesses are lying. It means they may have different recollections.
What kind of person first pronounces them guilty of perjury, and then asks CID to question them? What is CID supposed to do? Beat a written confession out of them?
Suspects must be charged within 48 hours or released, and they must have legal representation when being interrogated or questioned by the cmte.
Bagyenda is right to ask for her co witnesses to be released because the 48 hours are long past. But it seems they have been imprsioned, by alpha and omega, illegally. Can things get more stupid than this?