Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

Katuntu Denies Seeking COSASE Tenure Extension

Chairperson of the Parliaments Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Hon Abdu Katuntu has denied allegations that he approached the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, seeking extension of his tenure.

Katuntu, who is also the MP for Bugweri County, dismissed the media claims that he asked Kadaga to stay his office handover up to February 20th, to allow the committee conclude its work, which includes investigation into the sale of seven commercial banks by the Central Bank.

He says the idea to extend the committee tenure came from the Speaker herself.  It is not true that we went to the speaker to seek an extension, Katuntu told the Committee as it resumed the Bank of Uganda probe this morning.

“I want to put this on record. What happened; like any serious chairman of a committee, we always brief the speaker on the progress of the work we are doing as a committee.”

“So I went to the speaker and briefed her as the head of this institution, how far we had gone. She inquired whether it would be possible to complete this work before the term expires. I did explain to the speaker that it was not possible, Katuntu said.

“The speaker suggested that she would engage the leadership of the opposition and see a way forward. That process of engagement, I am not part of it. I imagine that the speaker will communicate to the house if the engagement happened”.

COSASE’s two and a half year tenure like other standing committees expires on January 13th. However, in December last year the Speaker of Parliamebt petitioned the leader of opposition (LoP), Betty Aol Ochan asking her to extend committee’s term to conclude the probe into the sale of banks by bank of Uganda.

Ochan declined on grounds that the move contravenes with the parliamentary rule of procedure that allows the committee to stay of two and half years in office.  

In the recent reshuffles, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) dropped Katuntu and appointed Kawempe South MP, Mubarak Munyagwa as the chairperson, superintending all the activities of the committee.

BoU Fails To Defend MMaks Payment In Crane Bank Sale

Bank of Uganda return to Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) took off on a wrong footing when the central bank officials failed to defend Shs900m which they paid to MMAKS advocates for external legal advice.

The officials who were appearing before the committee 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 Shs3 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.

Katuntu Has Done A Good Job Unearthing Bank of Uganda Dirt – FDC’s Epenu

Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) official Sarah Epenu unlike her peers at the country’s leading opposition political party is happy with the work Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise’s (Cosase) under chairmanship  of Hon. Abdul Katuntu has done to expose the rot at Bank of Uganda. Epenu wants the Bugweri legislator to finish the job he started.

"I am an FDC. I work in the President's office. But on Cosase I want to give my personal view. The Speaker has asked that Hon. Katuntu be given extra time to finish BOU probe.” Sara Epenu said.

“What is wrong with that? Only an extension of one month and people shout about that. Katuntu has done a great job, let him finish it to logical conclusion. He has unearthed the dirt in BOU. My party FDC should know that the success of Hon. Katuntu is also our success. Let him continue and Hon. Munyagwa comes later. This small issue should not divide us."

The FDC has been up in arms with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who chose to extend Katuntu’s tenure by a month to finish Bank of Uganda. Katuntu’s tenure as chairperson of Cosase ends this month and Kadaga preferred that it is extend by a month however which had already appointed a replacement is against the month.

Victoria University To Start Training Oil And Gas Non Technical Workers

Victoria University will effective March 2019 be allowed to undertake the responsibility of training young non technical workers in the Oil and Gas sector a job it will do alongside Kichwamba Technical Institute.

The remark was been made by the higher education state minister Dr.Crysestome Muyingo during an interview with Xpress Times, an online news publication recently.

The minister revealed that Victoria University was solely selected among Universities to help offer training courses in Oil and gas related areas like plumbers, electrical works among others.

He added that Victoria University was cleared and is expected to start the job next year in March.

‘’Our technical teams have been holding discussions with officials from the UK based Coventry University who are set to oversee the entire training program as seconded to us by the World Bank and we believe Victoria has garnered that potential to do the job alongside Kichwamba Technical Institute’’ noted Muyingo.

He  observed that this University had been given the mandate to assemble competent lecturers  who would kick start the training of trainers [ ToT]  courses with a view that hundreds of our young people can scoop the necessary academic and professional competencies to be able to work in this new area.

The University vice chancellor Dr.Sharma Khrisna told EARTHFINDS at the sidelines of their end of year party that was held recently at Speke Resort Munyonyo poolside that indeed arrangements are in top gear to  ensure that they put in place  necessary infrastructure to enable them do the job effectively.

‘’We have been meeting  technical delegations from Coventry  with view to discuss strategies of how best to move forward with this task and we can assure the public that we shall do all it takes to ensure that  more Ugandans get trained in this sector and be able to garner skills and graduate in this promising industry’’ noted Sharma.

‘’Coventry  with technical support from the government  helped us develop the  first ever  country’s new Oil and gas  curriculum that is acceptable at International standards meaning that students that shall graduate here can work anywhere around the World’’ he observed.

He thanked the government through their mother ministry of education for giving them opportunity to spear head this very critical project saying they would work hard to ensure that Ugandans shall benefit from this massive project through access to jobs.

‘’We are challenging Ugandan students to join Victoria University because we have all it takes to offer you highly specialized training skills that shall enable one to work anywhere across the global without disappointment’’  Sharma concluded.

The permanent secretary in the ministry of education Alex Kakooza said during a separate interview that the government had tasked them with responsibility of ensuring  that they train hundreds of young people that can in return be employed in the Petroleum industry as opposed to scouting out for workers from other countries.

‘’We have been given a tall order to ensure that we vigorously train thousands of Ugandan youths with a view that they get absorbed into this new Petroleum industry that we all expect that it will bring in more foreign currency to the government and help youths fight poverty and unemployment’’ noted Kakooza

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