Sekabira Disputes COSASE Report

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In short
Benedict Sekabira says that the COSASE report does not mention that his actions had been sanctioned by the Executive Committee of Bank of Uganda which information is contained in the meeting minutes held on 17th January 2008 when the request was presented, debated and approved.

The Bank of Uganda (Bou) Director Financial Markets Development Coordination, Benedict Sekabira has disputed findings in the report on the closure of commercial banks.

In his letter dated 25th February 2019 addressed to Speaker of Parliament Rebecca, Sekabira who was a liquidator for BoU in three defunct banks says that the report by parliament's committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) omits crucial information that he supplied in the course of the investigations.

The letter is copied to the Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende, Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige and Chairperson of COSASE.

Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu, the former COSASE Chairperson presented the committee report to parliament on Thursday last week.

The report finds Sekabira culpable for conflict of interest when he was involved in the sale of loan portfolios for defunct banks to Nile River Acquisition Company a company in which he was an agent up to 12th August 2009. The loan portfolios worth Shillings 135 billion were sold at a discount of 93 percent.

Sekabira was then serving as Director Commercial Banking and doubled as Bank of Uganda liquidator agent for International Credit Bank (ICB), Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank.   However, in his letter, Sekabira says that the report contains material misrepresentations. 

"The report notes that I was agent of Nile River Acquisition Company Limited until 12th August 2009. The unfortunate impression created by this is that I acted alone and, presumably, with a conflict of interest. This is not true," says Sekabira.

He adds that the COSASE report does not mention that his actions had been sanctioned by the Executive Committee of Bank of Uganda which information is contained in the meeting minutes held on 17th January 2008 when the request was presented, debated and approved. 

"I am aware that this information was availed to the Committee by cover of letter of the Governor. The matter was also discussed in the proceedings of the Committee. In addition, I individually passed copies of the same to the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Elijah Okupa and Hon. Michael Tusiime," he explains.

Sekabira also comments on the committee observed that between 12th and 16th February 2007 he travelled to New York with lawyer Kakembo Katende a BoU Consultant with M/s JN Kirkland a company that identified Nile River Acquisition as suitable to buy the loan portfolio.
He says that the dates stated for his travel are false since he travelled to and arrived in New York on 22nd July 2007 and that the purpose of his travels were clearly stated in a Memorandum to the Governor seeking approval, which approval was granted.
"The purpose of the said travel, as is reflected in the Memorandum, was to discuss 230 loans and to give comfort to the then intending buyer of the Portfolio as to the recovery ability of these loans. I only travelled to New York much later once the transaction was in progress and my input was required to reassure the buyer," reads Sekabira's letter.

He says that the committee seeks to create an impression that Kakembo Katende and him acted together in sourcing the purchaser of the portfolio of the closed banks something he said is false and unfortunate impression. He alleges that the observations are unfounded and a result of the Committee deliberately ignoring information in their possession.

"By this letter, I request that these wrong observations be corrected and that the report be amended before it is approved by the House. I write to request to immediately be availed a full and complete record of proceedings of the Committee that I might study the same and, if need be, request the correction of the same in the event that there has been inaccurate reporting. I believe this is my right under the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure," further reads Sekabira's letter.
Sekabira concludes that in the event that his requests are not met, he will have no option but to conclude that Speaker Kadaga and the COSASE have elected to treat him prejudicially and with bias.

Kadaga today acknowledged receipt of Sekabira's letter saying that she had forwarded it and other documents to the Clerk to Parliament to be studied. She, however, warned the BoU official against blackmailing her and parliament as an institution.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.