PARLIAMENT: The Member of Parliament for Aruu County, Samuel Odonga Otto, has blasted the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja for ordering the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) to investigate him and three other MPs who were on Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) as it probed Bank of Uganda over the controversial sale of seven commercial banks.
IGG Irene Mulyagonja in her latest letter asked ISO particularly to investigate the former chairperson of Cosase committee Abdu Katuntu for allegedly soliciting bribes during the recent probe into the irregular sale of commercial banks.
The directive by the IGG is based on a complaint from an undisclosed person, that Katuntu, the former parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) deputy Anita Among, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa, and Otto regularly met former Crane bank owner Sudhir Ruparelia during the course of the bank probe.
“I don’t care who is to investigate me; ISO, CMI, IGG, police, Arrow Boys or Flying Squad,” Otto said when contacted to respond to the impending investigation.
The MP said what he cares about is, “How the mafias are seemingly taking over the country that the IGG is now more interested in those investigating the thieves and no the thieves.”
It is alleged that the said committee members received cash payments from Ruparelia and his son Rajiv Ruparelia which is suspected to be the real reason they refused to yield the leadership of Cosase when their term ended, according to the letter by the IGG.
The whistleblower accuses Katuntu of receiving a bribe of Shs 400 million from BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, to allegedly enable the same committee to carry out a benchmarking exercise with other central banks. But, according to the whistleblower that money was not declared by Katuntu and not accounted for.
The whistleblower alleges that the compromising bribe was one of the reasons why the governor was allegedly allowed to pretend that he knew nothing about the closed banks and was never put on oath and was not clearly examined like other Bank of Uganda officials.
The request for investigations into Cosase members was confirmed by the speaker Kadaga after receiving a copy of the letter which is addressed to the director general of ISO, Col Kaka Bagyenda. She said that the letter dated February 19, 2019, would be availed to the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
Padyere County MP Joshua Anywarach had earlier demanded that the prime minister pronounces himself on the letter which he said was deliberately meant to tone down the report on the irregular sale and closure of commercial banks. Katuntu is also being investigated for his interests in the defunct Global Trust bank.
“Hon Abdul Katuntu was one of the debtors of Global Trust bank at the time when the bank was closed on 25th July 2012. He owed the bank approximately Shs 180,000,000, a matter he did not declare yet the debts were amongst the causes of the bank’s collapse,” further reads IGG’s letter.
Mulyagonja concludes that her office decided that ISO is in a better position to investigate the allegations. She requested Col Bagyenda to file a copy of a report of their findings and action taken on the conclusion of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who received the letter protested, saying that it violated the doctrine of separation of powers.
“I will give it to the Prime Minister but this is really a breach of a separation of powers,” she said.
The doctrine of separation of powers essentially means that in the course of doing their work, the three organs of government: legislature, judiciary and executive, must not interfere in the affairs of others.
Cosase) last year started investigations into the sale of 8 banks including Teefe Trust bank, International Credit bank Ltd, Greenland bank, Uganda Cooperative bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust bank and Crane bank Ltd and the report was handed over last week to the speaker of parliament.
However, in a February 19 2019 letter to the ISO, Director General, the IGG says her office received a complaint of allegations of misconduct by members of the Cosase committee while carrying out their probe into the sale of eight banks.
It has now been established that the complaint was lodged by some of the senior officials of Bank of Uganda and is a continuation of the abrasive fight between some officials in Bank of Uganda and some MPs.