KAMPALA – Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has bowed to pressure and finally dropped the appointment of Justine Bagyenda, the former director of supervision at the Bank of Uganda (BOU) on the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Board.
In a May 7, 2018 letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Matia Kasaija re-appointed Bagyenda to the FIA board for the second term even as she is under investigation by the same FIA and facing a separate investigation by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) over allegations of illicit accumulation of wealth while a motion demanding that a Select Committee be set up to investigate the operations of Bank of Uganda and her role in the closure of Crane Bank is on the Order Paper.
Sources at Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development told Eagle Online that Bagyenda was dropped this morning by Kasaija.
“Ms Bagyenda has been told that due to the public outcry, she won’t be serving on FIA board because if she did remain, it would be bad for the board” a source said on condition of anonymity.
Last month, there was an uproar in the public and parliament when legislators learnt Kasaija had nominated Ms.Bagyenda to serve her second term on FIA board yet she was a subject of investigations.
The legislators fumed when they heard Kasaija had nominated Bagyenda when she had been relieved of her duties at BoU by Governor Tumusiime Mutebile in February 2018 in a major internal staff transfer that saw her replaced by Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi.
Following public outcry, on August 9, Kasaija said that he was ready to withdraw the nomination of Bagyenda to serve as a board member of the FIA should Parliament decline to vet her on moral grounds being that, she is still under investigations.
Investigations on Bagyenda’s source of wealth was prompted by leaked bank details that showed she had over Shs19 billion in three different Banks and 17 properties in prime areas.
MPs under the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption recently made their statement discouraging the minister Bagyenda’s reappointment on the FIA, the controversies surrounding her right now.
Apart from FIA, troubled Bagyenda is also being investigated by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for similar allegations of accumulation of wealth which was not commensurate to her monthly earnings as a civil servant.
Kasaija in his defence said that he nominated Bagyenda on the board before she ‘retired’ from BoU and allegations against her had not yet emerged.
“The information we had at that particular time, this issue had not arisen,” he said, adding that he would listen to the directive of Parliament on Bagyenda’s matter.
“I proposed her name to Parliament. It’s up to Parliament now to tell me what to do, because if I took a decision it would mean I’m prejudging Ms Bagyenda. The names were sent to Parliament for vetting, if Parliament says no and they have got good reasons, I will abide because I can’t appoint until Parliament has given me the authority to do so,” Kasaija said.
The new development, according to the sources, shows that Kasaija has listened to the public’s cry and Bagyenda might take a long time before getting a government appointment.