Money Laundering Claims Haunt BoU’s Bagyenda

The recent months have left former Bank of Uganda director in charge of supervision, Justine Bagyenda naked and under public scrutiny after it was known that she has stashed billions of shillings in several local – DTB, Standard Chartered, Barclays and Centenary Bank.

The manner in which she transferred the money, let alone how she earned it, according to financial experts, breed suggestions that Bagyenda might have practiced money laundering, a dreaded vice in the banking business.

This, if true, experts say it is unfortunate because she was supposed to be the chief whip of the banking sector in the country. Last year during the much publicized Crane Bank scandal, Bagyenda was criticized for failing at her job after several commercial bank mysteriously closed business.

Bagyenda is reportedly hiding over Sh20bn in separate Banks in Uganda. This report by the CEO East Africa indicate that Bagyenda who owns Shillings and Dollar accounts in multiple local banks made several irregular transactions in an attempt many people would think was an attempt to cover up the source of the money.

The CEO Report reads in part:

For example, as of December 28, 2014, Bagyenda held a cash balance of $238, 563 on her Diamond Trust Bank US Dollar account.

From this account, she on December 29, 2016, made a fixed deposit of $1776, 717 which matured in December 2017. On maturity, she on December 29th 2017 topped it up and made another fixed deposit of $214,149 on December 29, 2017 at an interest rate of 3 percent.

This amount is set to mature on December 29, 2018, and she will make an interest of $5,536 after a tax deduction of $977.

Bagyenda has also been making Shilling based fixed deposits in the same bank.

For example in March 2014, she fixed Shs900,029,548 for 31 days, which matured on 26th April 2014. She later fixed some Shs568m in November 2014 for another 31 days.

In January 2015 and September 2017 she made other short term fixed deposits of Shs480,000,000 and Shs179.3 million respectively.

Bagyenda is said to hold another account in Standard Chartered.

It is however her outbound transactions at her two personal current accounts in Barclays Bank (Kampala Road) and Diamond Trust Bank that could give a crew to at least how Bagyenda invested her money, whose source is not yet clear.

A closer analysis of these two accounts, shows three patterns.

For example, on her DTB account, she would start by making various cash deposits (ranging between $5,000 to $50,000 or the equivalent in Shillings), then raise enough amounts to invest in fixed deposits.

She would then after making some gains in interest rate, eventually clear the accounts to third parties who are variously linked to real estate development. It is believed, the money at this point would be ‘cleaned’ in form of real estate.

On her Personal Current Account held at Barclays, in just a year–between August 2015 to September 2016–Bagyenda made 47 wire (RTGS) transactions to account No. 2120011273 in Centenary Bank, belonging to a one Kenny Muwonge in Centenary Bank.

In total Shs693 million was wired to Kenny Muwonge.

The money would be wired at regular intervals in tranches of between Shs10 million to Shs30 million and would almost be withdrawn immediately in cash and or via mobile money. Muwonge would also on some occasions wire the money to another account in the same bank, belonging to Ken and Joe Construction Company Limited.

Read full article HERE

DTB, following widespread media reports regarding Bagyenda’s cash galore issued a statement confirming the existence of Bagyenda’s money and the said transitions. DTB revealed Bagyenda’s details were leaked by their employee. The commercial went on to apologies to Bagyenda.

It has also emerged that Bagyenda has not been paying taxes and is now being investigated by Uganda Revenue Authority operatives

After realizing that Bagyenda is extremely wealthy but her tax remittance schedule is greatly lacking, URA operatives have reportedly launched an audit investigation into her operations so as to ascertain why she has been evading taxes, with intent to make her cough all the taxes she hasn’t remitted for the period under review.

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