Finance (109)

Speke Group Of Hotels Tees Of Christmas Festivities

Uganda’s biggest conglomerate in the hospitality industry, Speke Group of Hotels, has kicked off end of year celebration by giving their esteemed customer great offers on hosting cocktail parties, end of year parties, corporate events and any other form celebrations at any of their hotels spread around the country.

Speke Group of Hotels owned by Ruparelia Group has a number of restaurants, bars, hotels, resorts and safari lodges in not only the capital Kampala but other places in the country like Jinja.

Some of the hotels under the Speke Group of Hotels include Speke Resort and Conference Centre, Speke Apartments, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Speke Hotel, Dolphin Suites, Forest Cottages, Speke Resort Bujagali Falls, Kabira Country Club, Tourist Hotel, Tagore Apartments among others.

Usually, these hotels come up with special Christmas dishes and menus to give their clients something new and out of the ordinary. Special offers on accommodation and other fun activities are also offered. Also a variety of Christmas parties for both adults and kids are organized.


NOT TRUSTED: IGG Orders Verification Of Kasekende’s Declared Wealth

The year 2018 is one deputy governor Bank of Uganda Louis Austin Kasekende, would love to forget in his entire illustrious career as a n economist, bank and civil servant.

After declaring his income, assets and liabilities as required by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), under the leadership code Act 2002, in a gesture of lack of trust, the ombudsman went ahead assigned two its officer to verify information provided by deputy governor to ascertain that he was not lying and or hiding anything.

 Kasekende declared his annual income at Shs559,848,000 million, with allowances pegged at Shs162,798,484 million. The deputy governor listed assets especially commercial buildings worth over Shs50bn with the most expensive being a commercial building co-owned with Andrew Kasekende, on Gaba Close valued at Shs2.1bn.

Kasekende’s declared properties are based in Kampala’s high end neighborhoods including Ntinda, Naguru, Gaba and Kololo, plus upcoming suburbs like Lubowa. The deputy governor also declared 5 commercial properties with the least priced being valued at 0.39 billion and one residential property whose valued was listed as 0.5 billion.

Other assets listed by the deputy governor include two Mercedes Benz cars, and one Toyota Hilux Pick-Up truck. Kasekende’s sources of income were declared income from 3489 shares held in GreenHill Holdings which owns a school, savings from salary, allowances and research grants.

Other sources of income listed were gratuity payments from BOU, AFB and World Bank loans, loans from other commercial banks, rental income, and pension from BOU and disturbance allowance from his employer, Bank of Uganda.

However in an 18th October, 2018, letter, the IGG assigned Mr. Victor Acidri, a Senior Principal Inspectorate Officer and Ms Doreen Tusiime, an Inspectorate Officer to conduct the verification exercise and obtain information in respect to what Kasekende had declared.

The IGG, in a letter titled ‘verification of your declarations of income, assets and liabilities’ and signed off by Annet K. Twine, asked Kasekende to accord the officers corporation and also provide necessary assistance they required. “

“This is to notify you of the decision by the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) to conduct a verification of your Income, Asssts and Liabilities as provided under Section 4C of the Leadership Code Act, 2002. The verification exercise shall commence within 7 (seven) days from the date of this letter,” the letter said.  

Musumba Says Kasekende Has Embarrassed Catholic Church

Proscovia Salaamu Musumba, the outspoken Forum for Democratic Change strongwoman, has said Bank of Uganda deputy Governor Dr Louis Kasekende has embarrassed the Catholic Church.

While speaking on Radio One Talk-Show Spectrum, Musumba, a former Member of Parliament, castigated Kasekende for forgetting his Catholic values and allowing himself to get caught up in the mess at central bank.

Kasekende is being investigated by the IGG for allegedly misuse of office and together withhis boss the governor Bank of Uganda are appearing before a parliamentary committee to answer querries regarding closure of seven commercial banks as raised in Auditor General’s report.

Musumba said: This is really too scandalous that a central bank that is managed by the more celebrated economists have turned the whole thing into ruin and have left us no excuse whatsoever to defend them. They look like robbers moving assets. Governor Mutebile should have given us the best he has. Kasekende, a celebrated Catholic to be undressed like this is sacrilegious”

MPs on the Parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises are investigating irregularities in the closure of seven commercial banks, with several bank officials facing the spotlight.

Deputy Governor Dr. Louis Kasekende faces the spotlight after it emerged he wrote to potential investors before Crane Bank was controversially sold to dfcu Bank at a paltry Shs 200 million.

Apart from the inquiry into the sale of seven banks, members on the COSASE have vowed to seek answers after disturbing details that Dr. Kasekende, one of the 8 central bank officials in the spotlight offered insider information to potential investors about the sale of Crane Bank while the central bank and Crane Bank’s majority shareholder, business mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, were still in negotiations.

Why BoU Officials Should Be Put Under Oath

On day three of appearance before Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to defend closure of seven commercial banks between 1993 and 2017, Bank of Uganda officials yet again exhibited several of inconsistencies in their submission.

This fuelled anger among several legislators who sit on the investigative committee and suggested that some officials should be detained while others be put under oath.

Led by Governor Emmanuel Mutebile and Tumubweine Twinemanzi the officials presented an inventory list of assets and liabilities of Teefe Bank which was the first private financial institution to be closed by the Central Bank in 1993.

What is shocking however, is Bank of Uganda produced an inventory on the third appearance before the committee having confessed for lacking the same document in the previous sittings.

The committee denied the report until its editors have fully studied it and recommended way forward.

It should be noted that while conducting a comprehensive audit on closure of Teefe Bank, the Auditor General was not provided with the Bank’s inventory prompting him to indicate it in his 80 page report he submitted to Parliament.

It is at this point that observers query whether it was BoU’s intention to hide some files or it succumbed to Parliament’s pressure to produce the document.

Need for Sworn Testimony by BoU officials

Observers have against that backdrop asked Parliament to compel Mutebile Administration to testify before the committee on oath.

Taking oath is evidence given by a witness who has made a commitment to tell the truth. If the witness is later found to have lied whilst bound by the commitment, they can often be charged with the crime of perjury.

“It is evident that BoU’s response to Auditor General is full of irregularities meant to shield the truth in closure of the seven banks,” an observer said.

On Thursday, the Central Bank executive director in charge of commercial banks read his submission which triggered rage from the MPs questioning why the institution was shielding facts.

Below we highlight the irregularities in Mr. Tumubweine Twinemanzi’s submission on Thursday that drew ire among MPs who at some point asked for the interim detention of BoU’s legal officer.

Whereas BoU says Teefe Bank was closed in November 1993, MPs discovered that the Bank was closed on 4th November 1993.

Whereas Bank of Uganda presented a letter authored by then Minister of Finance ordering for closure of Teefe Bank, the MPs found that the Minister had no powers to shutdown a bank, it is the mandate of Bank of Uganda. They then asked how the central bank could rely on a directive of the minister to close Teefe.

Bank of Uganda failed to clarify on what legal regime was Teefe Bank closed, whether it relied on 1969 BoU act or the amended one to which the Central Bank still follows to date.

On failing to respond to these queries, the committee was up in arms wondering whether it will spend so much time on seeking ‘small’ answers from the officials who seem to be deliberately feigning ignorance.

Against that backdrop, Rubaga North lawmaker Moses Kasibante consulted with the committee head Abdu Katuntu whether officials from BoU can be put under oath.

Katuntu known for calmness and liberalism said he will consult so as to protect the committee from being perceived as biased.

But observers insist that the only possible channel to extract the truth from Mutebile Administration is through Sworn Testimony.


Bank Of Uganda Fails To Defend Teefe Bank Takeover Again

Bank of Uganda officials appearing before parliament's Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) failed to defend the central banks decision to close Teefe Bank in 1993.

The committee inquiring the collapse of seven commercial banks also learnt that Teefe was closed down on irregular government orders by then finance minister Johoash Mayanja Nkagi, now deceased. 

At the previous meetings with COSASE, Bank of Uganda officials failed to provide an inventory report leading to the closure of Teefe. The central bank's director for supervision Tumubweine Twinemanzi is reported to have said it doesnt exist before later providing on the third appearance.

But in his report, Auditor General, John Muwanga noted that the documents that had been presented as inventory reports of Teffe Bank were actually Examination reports because they didn’t meet the criteria of inventory reports.

The inventory required according to the auditor general should contain assets and liabilities of Teefe Trust Bank at the time of its liquidation in 1993, but the documents presented were only pre-liquidation assessments.

COSASE Chairperson, Abdu Katuntu asked Bank of Uganda if the Central Bank carried out any valuation of the assets of Teffe Bank at the time of the takeover.With MPs questioning how the Bank couldn’t establish if the evaluation was done, Bernard Ssekabira who was then a banking officer at BOU asked for more time to cross check in the Bank archive.

Ssekabira explained: “These things happened 25 years ago, many of these people weren’t in charge of the Bank. I request we are given an opportunity to go back and craft this process. It would be better to sit in office, gather information from the archives.”

Katuntu then asked the Central Bank to come along with all the officers holding office at the time arguing, “The law requires any public office holder to account even when they aren’t in office. Can we have the people or responsible officers who were in those offices to help us answer this query?”

BoU Confession: We Don’t Have Inventory Report For Closed Teefe Bank

Bank of Uganda officials led by Governor Emmanuel Mutebile, his deputy Louis Kasekende and Executive Director in charge of Supervision Tumubweine Twinemanzi have yet again failed to present key documents they relied on to close Teefe Trust Bank to the investigative committee of Parliament.

Appearing for the second day before The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) chaired by Hon. Abdul Katuntu Mr. Mutebile and his team had no idea of the whereabouts of the inventory of Teefe which was closed in 1993.

Responding to the query, BoU’s Twinemanzi confessed to the MPs that he had failed to trace the inventory of Teefe Bank in the Central Bank’s archives. His confession drew ire among MPs who questioned whether BoU had no report or deliberately rejected to provide the document for selfish reasons.

On Monday Mr Mutebile and his colleagues met with COSASE members to respond to the Auditor General’s queries he raised in his 80 page report following an extensive investigation in the closure of seven banks including highly contested sale of Crane Bank which belonged to affluent businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

In his investigation, Mr John Muwanga indicated that Bank of Uganda didn’t avail him with records detailing the liquidation of Teefe Bank after which it was deemed bankrupt and shutdown.

“I was not availed with the Inventory report, loan schedules, customer deposit schedules and Statements of affairs of Teefe Trust Bank to enable me to fulfill the specific audit objectives. Due to this limitation, I could not assess the status of the assets and liabilities of Teefe Trust Bank from closure to date,” Muwanga said in his report.

Kalungu West legislator Joseph Sewungu was prompted to conclude that Bank of Uganda’s failure to avail the documents is s systemic move to ‘bury evidence’ which implicates the officials in the illegal closure of the seven banks.

Debt-distressed Africa Turn To International Monetary Fund

By Akani Chauke

By the International Monetary Fund (IMF's) own admission, there are circumstances where African governments' debt levels are so high they become unsustainable, such that the scheduled debt service exceeds the capacity of the member to service it.

This rings true for a number of countries in the Sub-Saharan African region, where the organisation, in its regional economic outlook for the year, warned debt servicing costs were becoming a burden, especially in oil-producing countries.

Among these are Angola, Gabon and Nigeria.

Overall, public debt rose above 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in some 22 countries at the end of 2016, up from ten countries in 2013.

According to the Brookings Institution, Cape Verde, Gambia, Congo, Mozambique, Mauritania, Sao Tome, Togo, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Sudan, respectively, are the countries searing under the heaviest debt.

The rankings are based on public debt as a percentage of GDP. Cape Verde are the heaviest indebted, with its debt 129,7 percent of GDP. Sudan's debt is 66,5 percent of GDP.

Recent statistics suggest Angola, Africa's second largest crude oil producer after Nigeria, is not far off. It has a government debt equivalent to over 65 percent of the country's GDP. Government debt to GDP in Angola averaged 49,75 percent from 2000 until 2017.

Statistics are based on data from the IMF's World Economic Outlook, the World Bank's World Development Indicators, and various countries' national statistics offices and central banks.

IMF economists- Sean Hagan, Maurice Obstfel and Poul Thomsen- jointly blogged that one potent source of uncertainty is the role of a big debt overhang in sapping political support for reforms from the public, which could see its sacrifices as primarily benefiting creditors.

"Pretending that unpayable debts can be repaid will only sap the effectiveness of the debtor's adjustment efforts, ultimately making all parties lose more than if they had promptly faced the facts," the trio stated.

On the back of its warnings that servicing debts were becoming burdensome, it is thus ironic that IMF is making a comeback to the African continent.

Countries with an insatiable appetite to borrow, but struggling to repay loans, are sourcing funds from the institution.

Economists pointed out after past few years of inactivity, largely because of increased Chinese funding to Africa, the IMF was back in the fold.

This is largely attributed to falling commodity prices and rising interest rates on loans are pushing several countries into unaffordable debt like that last seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

"Despite – or is it perhaps because of – increasing volumes of Chinese financing to Africa, that oft-reviled old banker, the IMF, is making a comeback to the continent," stated Peter Fabricius, Consultant of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

He noted during the 1980s and 1990s debt crisis many African countries turned to the IMF and its Bretton Woods partner institution, the World Bank, for financial bailouts but the economic formula, including African countries opening their economies to international trade, liberalizing their currencies and drastically cutting costs in exchange for loans, did not address Africa's economic woes.

"The 21st century, though, introduced a significant new banker – China," Fabricus stated.

According to the expert, instead of conditionalities, China prided itself on giving or lending money with "no strings attached."

The IMF stated nonetheless, despite the different approach, the number of sub-Saharan African countries in debt distress or facing high risk of debt distress rose from seven in 2013 to 12 in 2016.

"And so, African countries are returning to the IMF to seek bailouts," said Fabricus.

The analyst noted China's unconditional loans for infrastructure had considered the borrowing countries' abilities to service the loans.

Likewise, this time around, IMF is not quite so demanding about opening economies but it is still insisting that African countries who want loans cut their spending, he added.

South Africa must swiftly slash government borrowing if it is to avoid a debt trap that would force it to seek help from IMF, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni warned.

Recently, IMF downgraded the GDP expansion for Africa's two biggest economies-Nigeria and South Africa respectively.

IMF cut growth projections for Nigeria to 1,9 percent. South's economy is projected to grow by 0,8 percent, down from 1,5 percent.

Newly-appointed South African Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, consequently urged government against borrowing. This he said would force the country to seek assistance from the IMF.

"When you get into a debt trap that's where (at IMF) you end up," he told parliamentarians.

We Are Mindful Of Need To Protect Banking Sector - Mutebile

Troubled Bank of Uganda Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile on Monday appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) to respond to queries raised in the special Auditor General’s report on seven controversially closed banks.

The governor and his deputy are faulted by Auditor General’s report for mismanaging the financial sector leading to unfairly closing seven commercial banks between 1993 and 2016. The tipping point was the central bank under unclear circumstanced sold Crane Bank to DFCU at only Shs200bn after briefly putting it under their management.

On 28th November 2017, COSASE wrote to Auditor General to undertake a special audit on the closure of all commercial banks by the Central Bank. The seven closed banks in question include Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and Crane Bank Ltd (2016).

But in his defence, the governor said the primary objective of the Bank of Uganda is to ensure the stability and soundness of the banking system and protection of depositors’ interests. “While performing this role, there is a possibility that a financial institution may run into problems,” Mutebile said.

“In such circumstances, the Financial Institutions Act 2004, prescribes the type of actions the Central Bank should take in the different circumstances. They include; issuance of directives on corrective actions that the financial institutions must comply with, placing the Institution under statutory management or receivership and/or liquidation, depending on the nature of the problem,”

He said the 7 defunct banks in the Auditor General’s Report were put under resolution largely due to insolvency problems however the central bank has failed to provide evidence and documents to support this claim. It has also emerged that while closing Teefe Bank in 1993, BoU didn’t compile an inventory report. It has never did.

Mutebile said: “In conducting bank resolution, the Central Bank is mindful of the need for the depositors to access their funds in the shortest time possible, keeping the cost of resolution low but also most importantly the need to protect the remaining part of the banking industry from any contagion effect or systemic shocks.”

“While carrying out bank resolution, in a number of cases, the Central Bank identified other banks that purchased the assets and assumed liabilities of the banks under resolution.

The decisions and actions of selling the assets of banks placed under resolution, were based on the objectives of protecting the depositors’ funds, increasing confidence in the banking system and fostering financial sector stability, which is the core reason for our existence as an Institution,”.

Bagyenda Misses Swearing In Of FIA Board

Embattled former Bank of Uganda director in charge of supervising commercial banks Justine Bagyenda was not among the persons who were sworn in as board members of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) on Tuesday. Four people were sworn in. The FIA board consists of five people.

Finance minister Matia Kasaija presided over the swearing in ceremony where he commended the FIA board for putting in place regulations that have saved the country from being blacklisted for deficiencies relating to control of money laundering and terrorist financing.

It was reported last week that Bagyenda had been dropped by the appointing authority – minister of finance – after she refused to appear before a parliament committee for vetting. Bagyenda said she was out of the country but leaked data of her mobile phone indicated she in Kampala.

“Be firm on wrong elements but encourage and work with those who are genuine in transacting their finances. Do not be harsh to bank account holders but welcome them,” Mr Kasaija said at the swearing in ceremony held at ministry of Finance offices in Kampala.

The board is chaired by former Central Bank governor Leo Kibirango. Other members of the board include Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Patrick Ocailap, Police CID Director Grace Akullo and Ms Patricia Mutesi, the Principal State Attorney in the Attorney General’s Office. Mr Sydney Asubo, the FIA Executive Director, is an ex-officio on the board who is serving his second and final three-year tenure.

Mr Kibirango said the fifth member of the board, as required by law, will be appointed by the Finance Minister later. He said the FIA board values everyone’s contributions and there is need for collective efforts to fight financial crime.

“We shall continue to work as a team towards the goal of ensuring that Uganda’s financial system is safe from being exploited by criminals and make it financially stable to move the economy steadily towards the middle income status envisaged in the country’s Vision 2040,” Mr Kibirango said.

Leaked FBI E-mails Pin Kasekende In Crane Bank Woes

MPs on the Parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises will seek answers from deputy Bank of Uganda governor Dr. Louis Kasekende after it emerged he wrote to potential investors before Crane Bank was controversially sold to dfcu Bank at a paltry Shs200 billion.

Apart from the inquiry into the sale of seven banks, members on the COSASE have vowed seek answers after disturbing details that Dr. Kasekende, one of the 8 central bank officials in the spotlight offered insider information to potential investors about the sale of Crane Bank while the central bank and Crane Bank’s majority shareholder, business mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, were still in negotiations.

The investor in question, Patrick Ho, allegedly paid Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa $500,000 as part of a plot to advance his Chinese firm’s business interests in Africa, specifically Uganda’s energy and financial sectors.

Documents from the American agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), indicate that Kutesa’s wife, Edith Kutesa, was helping Ho in acquiring a Ugandan commercial bank. The bank has since been identified as Crane Bank, which BoU later sold to DFCU Bank. This evidence has been forwarded to the committee which resumes hearing on Thursday.

he FBI documents show that Dr. Kasekende met with the Chinese investors and shared information with them about Crane Bank before BoU took it over. While the central bank has defended Kasekende’s actions as not illegal, the criticism has not abated.

Critics claim that Kasekende’s actions showed that BoU officials were hell-bent on selling to foreign investors Crane Bank even as they negotiated with the proprietor.

Eight top Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials including Dr. Kasekende face the spotlight as the parliamentary inquiry into the sale of seven banks including the Shs 200 billion giveaway of Crane Bank to dfcu Bank enters week three.

The others are senior bank officials Benedict Sekabira, Timothy Sekirayi, Grace Ndyareeba, Margaret Kasule, Titus Mulindwa, William Kasozi and Justine Bagyenda who has since retired from the central bank under a cloud.

The eight, will according to sources that have scrutinized the documents submitted by the central bank to the MPs last week had a big hand in the issues surrounding the sale of the banks.

It is understood that the MPs will also question NSSF Managing Director Mr Richard Byarugaba, whose hand has been cited into the closure of Global Trust Bank and Mr. Juma Kisaame, the deposed dfcu Bank Managing Director, who has been in the spotlight following the controversial takeover of Crane Bank, which he presided.

The MP’s inquiry is also focusing on the mismanagement of closed banks by BoU after the Auditor General Mr John Muwanga issued a stinging criticism of the central bank in a special audit that cited massive flaws in the closure of Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and the sale of Crane Bank Ltd (CBL) to dfcu (2016). All the former directors of the above-closed banks will also be cross-examined by the committee.


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