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Bank of Uganda probes further exposed Mutebile

by James Ateenyi

A confidential Report of the Presidential Tripartite Committee appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to investigate Bank of Uganda officials has established that there are cliques in the central bank, one on the side of the Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile while the other clique sides with his deputy, Dr. Louis Kasekende.

“The majority of the senior staff members interviewed tended to agree that there were factions or cliques in the Bank polarized around the positions of the Governor and the Deputy Governor,” the report says on the staff changes that Tumusiime-Mutebile effected on February 7, 2018 as he sacked former executive director of supervision Justine Bagyenda.

As concerns the existence of cliques, one staff went further to characterize the cliques as potentially religious-based. In the words of the staff in question not affected by the February 7, 2018 staff changes memo, “There is a risk of divisions according to religion in that Bank. Catholics and Anglicans have their own groups. They have meetings and each has its own power.”

According to the report, all of the staff interviewed indicated that the staff changes made by the Governor were a complete surprise. The report notes that staff indicated a loss of confidence on account of unclear implementation or disregard of human resource policies especially with regard to succession. “It was felt that policy is applied selectively,” the report notes.

On February 7, 2018, Mutebile issued an internal memo via which he communicated a number of staff transfers and appointments. By way of the said memo he communicated a number of internal staff transfers as well as promotions. In the same memo, the Governor further communicated the appointment of five staff from outside the Bank to various positions in the Bank.

As a result of the Governor’s communication complaints were made to the Inspectorate of Government Justice Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza and the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE). In the complaints it was alleged that the Governor acted in contravention of the laws and policies governing staff recruitment, promotions and transfers in the Bank.

It was specifically alleged that: Six new staff were appointed from outside the Bank without interviews; newly appointed staff were granted permanent and pensionable terms contrary to probationary policy; two new externally recruited staff, namely, Dr. Twinemanzi Tumubweine (Executive Director Bank Supervision) replacing sacked Justine Bagyenda and Ms. Kande Sabiiti (Director procurement) lacked the minimum academic requirements for entering the bank.

The other complaints were that: the Governor created five new positions that did not exist on approved structure of the Bank and that some appointees lacked job descriptions; the Governor promoted nine staff members to Assistant Director level without conducting interviews; two new directors have been appointed to departments with substantive directors creating confusion as to what happens to existing directors; One deputy director was demoted to Assistant Director without justification, namely, Ms. Angela Kasirye and that the appointment of Dr. Tumubweinee was premised on nepotism, influence peddling and conflict of interest.

As result of the complaints above, on February 23, 2018, the Inspectorate of Government wrote to the Governor and requested that he responds to the allegations. On March 6, 2018, the Governor responded to the allegations and wrote to explain that the appointment of new staff from outside the bank was done in accordance with the Bank of Uganda Act and internal recruitment policies of the bank. He further explained that the staff in question were recruited through headhunting subject to the headhunting policy of the Bank as approved by the Human Resource and Remuneration Committee of the Board of Directors on May 11, 2016.

However, when the committee interfaced with both current and former members of the Board of Directors, “It was noted that none of the current board members were aware of the Governor’s decision prior to the communication made on 7th February 2018.”

In one Board member’s opinion, the Governor had acted in violation of the Bank of Uganda Act when he acted unilaterally to recruit new members of staff. There was also concern that the Governor had irregularly transferred the Chief Internal Auditor which was a preserve of the Audit and Governance Committee of the Board, the report said.

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