Coutry martial

Makindye based Army General Court Martial following the expiry of the contracts of the court members

Business is at stand still in the Makindye based Army General Court Martial following the expiry of the contracts of the court members. The one year contract of the court officers led by their chairperson Lt. General Andrew Gutti expired on June 9th, 2020 bringing work to a halt.
The other court members include Maj. General Joseph Arocha, Lt Colonel Medard Bagambe, Captain Wilfred Karugwara, Lt. Faridah Amooti Kiiza, Warrant Officer I. Chrysostom John Kisembo, Colonel Richard Tukacungurwa, the Judge Advocate Lt. Col Raphael Mugisha, the Lead Prosecutor Major Samuel Masereje, Captain AB Katushabe, Major John Bizimana, the Registrar and Defense counsel Major Kamanda Silas Mutungi.
The reserve court members are Brigadier George Etyang, Lt Col Henry Nevatone, Lt Col Sadler Katono, Lt Col Lydia Nandundu, Lt Henry Bunalema, Lt. Fatuma Njutti and Warrant Officer Paul Katende. Major Bizimana, the General Court Martial Registrar confirmed the expiry of the contracts of the court members saying they have since stopped working pending communication from the Commander in Chief President Yoweri Museveni.
The team whose contracts were renewed in July 2019 has been able to conclude 46 out of the 91 cases that were registered in their previous term. This means 45 cases are pending hearing before the same court. Bizimana defended their performance saying they were affected by the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.
He explained that their target has always been to conclude 100 cases but they haven’t been able to achieve it. Human Rights lawyer, Eron Kiiza said that the delayed appointment of a new team weeks after the expiry of the contracts of the panel undermines the rule of law, administration of justice and threatens the Constitutional right to an expeditious trial.

Yes I Took Away Documents from BoU-Bagyenda Tells COSASE

Former Director of Supervision for Commercial banks at Bank of Uganda (BoU), Ms Justine Bagyenda on Wednesday accepted that she had taken documents out of the central bank even though she said most of them related to her consultancy work and not the sale of commercial banks.
Ms Bagyenda said as she and BoU staff was appearing before Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) for questioning over closure of seven commercial banks whose vital documents relating to transactions have gone missing.
In late November all fingers seemed to point to Bagyenda regarding the missing inventory reports and others. Benedict Sekabira, the Director Financial Markets Development Coordination in December said it was only Bagyenda who can reveal where some of the files were. Suspicion was that Bagyenda picked files when she was in February 2018 fired unceremoniously by the Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, six months to her retirement. As Executive Director of supervision, her role was to ensure the stability of the banking industry but her boss sacked her after the Crane Bank scandal emerged.
Ms. Bagyenda was heavily involved in the controversial closure and sale of Global Trust Bank Uganda (GTBU) Crane Bank Limited (CBL) to Dfcu Bank in July 2014 and January 2017 respectively. CBL was sold on credit at Shs200 billion that is being paid in installments, with the central bank claiming it spent Shs478.8 billions of taxpayers’ on CBL before selling it to Dfcu Bank.
Cosase does not have all the required documents of defunct banks because BoU staffs have failed to present all of them, with claims that some are misplaced somewhere within the bank, even though it has an archive department.
Sources within BoU say Ms. Bagyenda worked closely with BoU’s Deputy Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende in the closure and liquidation of some of the banks, for instance, CBL whose closure caused the on-going Cosase probe that so far has not gotten satisfactory answers from the BoU. The problem has been the official’s failure to avail them with all the documents related to defunct banks.
BoU director of security Milton Opio in November told the MPs that Ms Bagyenda facilitated the theft of documents from the central bank. Opio said that their CCTV camera’s captured Bagyenda’s assistant’s smuggling bags of documents from the central bank early this year. Opio made the revelation under the directive of BoU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, who had been tasked to explain whether the central bank had any case of stolen documents.
Meanwhile BoU officials were on Tuesday tasked to provide terms of reference under which they offered law firm MMAKS Advocates Shs900 million as legal fees during the sale of Crane Bank. The BoU officials could not provide the documents. It also emerged that Sekabira was responsible for payment to the law firm instead of Kitimbo Mugwanya.
The law firm was paid a total of Shs914 million but BoU officials who appeared (COSASE couldn’t provide terms of reference under which they engaged MMAKS/Africa Legal Network
The firm was also paid a further Shs3 billion as commission for monies recovered from Crane Bank shareholders.
The probe follows an Auditor General’s report that probed the closure and sale of seven commercial banks and pointed at possible corruption within BoU. While querying the law firm’s payments, some MPs argued that the payments could have been inflated to benefit corrupt BoU officials.
The MPs pointed fingers at the embattled former Executive Director in Charge of Commercial Bank Supervision Justine Bagyenda as a possible beneficiary, but she read to the MPs a memo/document dated November 30, 2016 requesting for payment of the lawyers, but which didn’t show proof of work done.
The Governor Tumusiime-Mutebile used the memo as a basis to endorse payment of US $51,000 (Shs180 million) as part payment of the legal fees in December 2016.
The Committee Chairperson Abdu Katuntu, said it was wrong for BoU not to have proper records on the particular transaction.
The probe was expected to continue Wednesday when BoU officials were expected to appear accompanied with representatives of M/S J.N. Kirkland & Associates and Sil, the two firms that participated in the sale of assets of Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank and Cooperative Bank to Nile River Acquisition.

BoU Officials Fail to defend shs 900m paid to MMaks Advocates in Crane bank Sale

Bank of Uganda officials have failed to defend shs 900m before MPs on parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) which they paid to MMAKS advocates for external legal advice.
The officials who were appearing before the committee today Tuesday were put to task to explain how they hired MMAKS Advocates and gave the law firm work without terms of reference as well as not having minutes of the meetings relating to the work the lawyers were to do in regard to the liquidation and sale of Crane Bank Limited (CBL).
MMAKS Advocates were paid Shs914, 272,722 for legal advice during CBL intervention, resolution and advice on the sale of CBL assets and assumption of liabilities.
The firm would further be paid extra Shs 3 billion as 5 percent commission monies recovered from CBL shareholders. The MPs contend those payments were exaggerated to benefit some BoU senior staff involved in the sale of CBL.
The former director of Bank supervision at BoU Justine Bagyenda failed to convince the legislators on the business MMAKS did with BoU as some records were missing. Committee chairman Abdu Katuntu said it was wrong for BoU not to have records on the particular transaction.
Bagyenda read to the MPs a memo/document of November 30, 2016 requesting for payment of the lawyers without showing the work that was done. BoU governor would on December 12, endorse and approve the request for payment of over US$51000 dollars as part of their total fee.
The law firm was hired after On October 28, 2016, BOU engaged PWC to carry out a forensic review of Crane Bank Limited (CBL) focusing on a 48 month period before statutory management which was completed on January 13, 2017.
On November 28, 2016, BOU engaged MMAKS Advocates to provide transaction advice to take over CBL and the firm would on December 9, 2016, on behalf of BoU, invite 13 bidders to bid for the purchase of assets and assumption of liabilities of CBL. Between 12th and 15th December 2016, BOU issued the Inventory report to 6 bidders after signing a confidential agreement for them to undertake due diligence on the assets and liabilities of CBL. Subsequently on 20’h December 20, 2016, two bids were received and evaluated.
The costs to MMAKS are part of the Shs12 billion intervention costs BoU claims to have sunk in CBL during the takeover. Lawyers of MMAKS also ar4e directors of some commercial banks yet they do business with BoU which is the regulators. MPs said this creates conflict of interest and that BoU should have addressed the issue before giving the law firm the job.
Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Abdu Katuntu has ordered that BoU staff tomorrow appear again accompanied with representatives of M/S J.N. Kirkland & Associates and Sil, the two firms that participated in the sale of assets of Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank and Cooperative Bank to Nile River Acquisition at Shs8.89 billion.

Time for Dfcu Bank to prove Global Trust and Crane banks acquisition were legitimate deals

Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) in late December 2018 is yet to conclude its probe of Bank of Uganda senior staff (BoU) over the liquidation of seven commercial banks between 1993 and 2016.
The banks closed by BoU included Teefe Trust Bank, Greenland Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank Uganda (GTBU) and Crane Bank Limited (CBL). The closure of some of the banks has left doubt in the minds of Ugandans as to whether some of the BoU senior staff deserve the jobs they are holding.
Dfcu Bank of which BoU Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme holds shares, respectively bought GTBU in July 2014 and CBL in January 2017 after the former executive director of bank supervision Ms Justine Bagyenda approached Dfcu top managers over phone about the availability of the two banks for acquisition.
Dfcu Bank top managers including the former Managing Director Juma Kisaame are expected to appear before Cosase soon. The Dfcu executives are expected to tell the MPs how they came to acquire both GTBU and CBL given that the transactions are questionable as BoU top managers failed to present related documents and gave conflicting answers regarding the transactions.
For instance, during the probe of BoU, MPs learnt that Dr. William Kalema who was a board member of BoU was also a Board member of DFCU in 2014 when it took over GTBU. Ms Bagyenda is also said to have shared confidential information of GTBU with DFCU Bank top managers, which is against the country’s established banking regulations.
According to the committee members, these factors is present a conflict of interest situation in which BoU staff might have benefited at the expense of shareholders of GTBU who are now demanding for over Shs300 billion compensation on top of other costs.
During the probe, BoU senior staff were tasked by the MPs to explain the taxpayers’ Shs 478.8 billion they claim to have spent on CBL takeover but failed to account for the money which is not reflected on CBL accounts. BoU claims it spent the money as liquidity support and other costs despite CBL only needing Shs157 billion to stabilise. That money was not given and instead BoU sold CBL to Dcu Bank on credit at Shs200 billion as cited by the Auditor General John Muwanga’s special audit report of BoU on defunct banks.
According to the report released in late August 2018, DFCU Bank had paid about Shs98 billion of the Shs200 billion. Dfcu agreed with BOU to pay Shs200 billion liability within 30 months commencing October 1, 2017 and was to provide security in form of treasury bills (with less than 91 days maturity) on the completion date.
In March 2018 Dfcu Bank announced an impressive Shs127.6 billion net profit in the year ended 31 December 2017, up from Shs46.2bn registered in 2016. The huge Shs81.4 billion profit leap, came in the aftermath of the takeover of CBL.
Despite the transaction that saw Dfcu Bank take over CBL, the Auditor General established that there was no guidelines in place to guide the process. “I observed that there were no guidelines… or polices in place to guide the identification of the purchasers of defunct bank. There were also no guidelines to determine the procedures to be adopted by the Central Bank in the sale/transfer of assets and liabilities of the defunct banks to the identified purchaser.
Further, the Auditor General noted that BoU did not carry out a requisite valuation of assets and liabilities of GTBU and CBL resolved using the purchase and assumption arrangement at the time of signing the P&A. “In absence of the valuation and or documented evaluation of alternatives and assumptions used, I could not establish how the terms for the transfer of assets and liabilities in the P&A were determined,” he said.
Upon the acquisition of CBL, Dfcu Bank’s total assets increased to a record Shs3 trillion, up from Shs1.7 trillion in 2016 while t’s core capital increased to Shs362 billion in 2017, up from Shs 188 billion in 2016.
Former Crane Bank shareholders led by majority shareholder Sudhir Ruparelia and family have vowed to recover CBL, claiming their bank was sold to Dfcu Bank without considering their interests in accordance with the Financial Institutions Act.
Dfcu Bank is partly owned by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), a British government-owned company, together with Rabo Development from the Netherlands and NorFinance from Norway, who are shareholders in Arise B.V together with Norfund, a Norwegian government-owned Private Equity firm and FMO, the Dutch Development Bank.
Shareholding percentages:
Arise BV 58.71 per cent
CDC Group of the United Kingdom 9.97 per cent
National Social Security Fund (Uganda) 7.69 per cent
Kimberlite Frontier Africa Naster Fund 6.15 per cent
2 undisclosed Institutional Investors 3.22 per cent
SSB-Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 0.98 per cent
Vanderbilt University 0.87 per cent
Blakeney Management 0.63 per cent
Bank of Uganda Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme 0.59 per cent
Retail investors 11.19 per cent
 

U.N. chief regrets Somalia envoy expulsion will send replacement

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will appoint a new envoy to Somalia, a U.N. spokesman said after failing to convince the country to retract its decision to expel the current representative over accusations of interference.
Since Somalia’s foreign ministry declared late on Tuesday that U.N. envoy Nicholas Haysom “cannot work in this country,” Guterres has spoken twice with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.
“The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision of the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” Haq said. “The Secretary-General has full confidence in Mr. Haysom.”
Haq noted that the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to United Nations personnel.
“At the same time the Secretary-General is totally committed to ensuring that the needs of the Somali people are at the forefront of the work of the United Nations in Somalia,” Haq said. “Therefore, he intends to appoint in due course a new Special Representative for Somalia.”
The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the developments behind closed doors later on Friday, diplomats said.
The United Nations is a major backer of Somalia, a country that has lacked strong central government since 1991. The government’s decision on Haysom could intensify a confrontation between Mogadishu and the semiautonomous regions.
Haysom had raised questions in a letter on Sunday about the involvement of U.N.-supported Somali security forces in the arrest of a former militant of the Islamist al Shabaab group who was blocked from running in a regional election.
Haysom, a South African, told the Security Council on Thursday that the allegations of interference by the federal government in the regional election and the violence that followed the former militant’s arrest “does not bode well for the upcoming electoral processes in other regions or for the 2020 national elections.”
Somalia’s U.N. Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman told the Security Council that the Somali people wanted “Somalia leading international support, not international support leading Somalia.”
“Somalia distinguishes between the institutions that we are part of and individual conduct that’s had detrimental effect on our fragile nation,” he said.
 

Two Gabon Coup Plotters Killed

Two soldiers who took part in Monday’s attempted coup in Gabon have been killed, the president’s office says.
They were shot dead after security officers stormed the national radio building which they had taken over. Three others are under arrest.
The junior officers claimed they seized power “to restore democracy” in oil-rich Gabon, where the ailing leader’s family has ruled for 50 years.
“The situation is under control,” the presidency’s statement said.
Coup leader Lt Kelly Ondo Obiang was on the run for a brief period, before being found hiding under a bed, reports Radio France Internationale (RFI).
“The situation is calm. The gendarmes who are often stationed there have taken control of the entire area around the radio and TV headquarters, so everything is back to normal”, said Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, a spokesman for the government of the central African country.
Mr Mapangou said that the army generals, civil society and opposition leaders mentioned in the rebels’ statement as potential supporters would be investigated.
What is the opposition’s reaction?
The main opposition group, The Coalition for the New Republic, denied any link with the rebel soldiers.
One of its leading members, Paul-Marie Gondjout, told the BBC that soldiers and the police were searching vehicles on main roads in the capital, Libreville.
“We see order, but we don’t know what is going on,” Mr Gondjout said.
He added that with President Ali Bongo out of the country since October when he suffered a stroke, his deputy should be sworn in as head of state.
“The country needs to be run and we have no government, no head of state,” Mr Gongjout said.
President Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009. He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by violence and accusations of fraud.
 

Uganda Law Society Rallies behind Kadaga’s Decision to Extend COSASE Probe Tenure

Uganda Law society has massively rallied behind the decision by the speaker of parliament Rt Hon Rebecca Kadaga to extend the tenure in office of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COASASE) until they finalize the probe on the sale of seven defunct banks by Bank of Uganda.
Yesterday the Speaker revealed that she is the head of the institution and her proposal is good for the well-being of the country and the August House, “COSASE is winding up on the BoU investigation. We expect them to write a report and hand it over to the House before they move,” she added.
According to chairperson of ULS Simon Peter Kinobe, the committee leadership has almost most finalized its probe into the sale of banks starting from Teefe in 1993, asserting that the new leadership may retard the process that is nearly coming to conclusion.
Mr. Kinobe contended that under the rules of parliament, the head of the institution has the authority to borrow best practices from other Commonwealth countries to give a leeway for the committee to finalize it work and hands it over to parliament.
The opposition has always opposed to the extension of Bugweri County Abdu Kantuntu’s committee in order to bring in Kawempe South legislator Mubarak Munyagwa and others. The opposition made changes late last year replacing the several committee leaders with new faces.
BoU has failed to account for Shs478.8 billion, the officials say they sank in Crane Bank Limited as liquidity support among other costs before finally transferring it to Dfcu Bank at Shs200 billion.
Cosase has been probing BoU top officials over irregular closure of seven commercial banks including Teefe Trust Bank, Crane Bank Limited, Global Trust Bank, International Credit Bank, Cooperative Bank, Greenland Bank and National Bank of Commerce.

Burundi, Turkey Pen Security and Intelligence Deal against Enemies

Turkey and Burundi have signed a security agreement that envisages joint military intelligence cooperation against third countries.
According to the agreement obtained by the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network (NRMN), a Stockholm-based nongovernmental organization. Article 8 of the agreement states that “regarding the countries considered to harm the mutual interests of the Parties and to be determined jointly, shall cover the developments in the area of interest of the Armed forces of the Parties, priority being given to the military activities and exchange of military intelligence information about the activities of these countries in Turkey and Burundi.”
The two countries committed to protecting classified information and to refrain from sharing it with other countries. Article 7 of the agreement reads, “The classified information and material shall not be disclosed to or shared with (or transferred to) a third party without prior written consent of the Party providing them.”
The agreement was signed on September 8, 2018 in Ankara by the chiefs of general staff of Turkey and Burundi. It was approved by the Turkish parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs on December 12, 2018. The agreement is valid for five years with automatic renewals unless one party notifies the other in advance of withdrawal.
Among the areas of cooperation are military training and education, exchange of personnel, participation in exercises, training and joint exercises, the defense industry, logistics, military intelligence, communications and counter terrorism.
Opposition Turkish lawmaker Ahmet Haluk Koc questioned the vagueness in the wording of the agreement, asking whether Turkey would consider Belgium or countries that have problems with Burundi as third countries against whom Turkey and Burundi will cooperate on military and intelligence matters. “What kind of interest does Turkey seek jointly with Burundi with this deal?” he said.
 

Man Tests Ebola Positive after Visiting Burundi

A man is being treated in isolation at Sweden’s Uppsala University Hospital on suspicion of infection with Ebola after visiting Burundi, the regional authority said on Friday.
The hospital’s chief medical officer said the young man had been in Burundi for around three weeks, and was exhibiting classic symptoms of hemorrhagic fever, including vomiting blood. Test results were expected later on Friday.
Symptoms of the highly contagious and often deadly virus can take up to three weeks to appear.
There is no known Ebola outbreak in Burundi, but it borders the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been fighting an outbreak for almost six months. The disease has killed 356 of the 585 people known to have been infected.
The epidemic in a volatile part of Congo is the second worst ever, according to the World Health Organization.
The largest outbreak was one in 2013-2016 in West Africa, where more than 28,000 cases were confirmed.
The emergency clinic in the Swedish town of Enkoping, where the patient was first admitted, was closed and staff who had been in contact with him were being looked after.

Police Nabs 42 in City Swoop

Police is holding 42 suspects who were picked from two hot spots in the city center.
The operation was carried out in Arua Park, Kisenyi bus terminal and Nebbi Park and the operation was the joint one where Updf and police all participated in arresting the criminals.
Luke Owoyesigire confirmed the arrest saying that those arrested are going to be  charged with different charges ranging from frequenting areas of smoking opium’s and marijuana , found with suspected items like phones, televisions among others.
Owoyesigire added that others will be charged with being in possession of drugs like marijuana, others are to be charged with opium smoking.
The spokesperson added that their arrest came after police got information from local leaders of the affected areas that they no longer sleep because they made their life hard.
The 42 will be charged in court tomorrow Tuesday.