As Parliament’s probe into Bank of Uganda’s closure and sale of private banks continues, MPs were dumbfounded by CCTV footage incriminating former Executive Director in charge of Commercial Bank supervision Justine Bagyenda, as she appeared to be smuggling vital documents out of the bank.
The CCTV footage that was provided to the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) by BoU’s Security Director Milton Opio Orech showed Bagyenda and her bodyguard Juliet Adikolet, using an emergency exit to smuggle the documents out of the bank.
When asked what the documents contained, Bagyenda’s bodyguard told the committee that she had no idea what she was carrying and Bagyenda claimed they were personal gifts and a hand over report from Pretoria in South Africa.
A second video clip showed two cars accessing the BoU premises on a non-working day, a Sunday afternoon, with the individuals proceeding to head to Bagyenda’s office yet they had not been checked.
“We are supposed to register all vehicles that come to the bank, but this wasn’t registered. The person came without clearance and the car came in without clearance,” Orech told the committee.
Asked by the committee to identify the individuals, Bagyenda’s bodyguard Adikolet said the question should be directed to Bagyenda who was present, but on MPs’ insistence, she identified MMAKS Advocates lawyer Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe.
Bagyenda identified the second individual as Ashrin Kumar the Managing Director of Bank of Baroda.
Masembe was one of the lawyers who were contracted by BoU during the sale of Crane Bank. The COSASE committee had on the previous day heard that the law firm had received Shs914m from BoU to handle the Crane Bank sale without terms of reference.
Masembe was to later be put off a BoU case against former Crane Bank owner Sudhir Ruparelia as the Commercial Court ruled that he was conflicted, having previously represented the businessman for over a decade.
Meanwhile, Parliament’s security director Opio out of the slip of the tongue revealed that the footage had been edited, prompting COSASE Chair Abdu Katuntu to ask him to present unedited video clips the next day.