Several staff at Bank of Uganda could lose their jobs after a probe committee recommended that the Central Bank Board of Directors should review the circumstances under which some were recruited and others promoted by Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile in February this year.
Some of the senior staff appointed by Mr Mutebile following the February 7 memo are Dr Twinemanzi Tumubweine, Executive Director Supervision; Ms Valentine Ojangole, Director Banking; Mr Edward Mugerwa, Director IT Operations, Ms Ruth Kande Sabiiti, Procurement Assurance Manager and Dr Natamba Bazinzi, Assistant Director Currency Administration.
The aggrieved BoU staff had in their memo to the IGG, said the appointment of the above staff was irregular and centred on tribal and religious sentiments.
And now the committee, which was formed by President Museveni in February following concerns about Mr Mutebile’s sweeping staff changes, has recommended that that the Board of Directors reviews all promotions effected on 7th February 2018 and rectify the departure from the standing policy on recruitments as contained in the Administration Manual and highlighted in this report.
“The Committee further recommends that the Board causes a Human Resource Audit of all existing staff of the Bank with a view to ascertaining how many staff have accessed the bank outside of required procedures and to take demonstrable measures to guard against recurrence of such cases,” the report reads in part.
The recommendations come after the committee concluded that the recruited or promoted staff lacked the requirements to work in the central bank, ranging from academic qualifications to years of experience.
The committee report also pins the Governor on disregarding the existing administration manual at the bank and acting individually in making the appointments which triggered a petition by aggrieved BoU staff to the IGG.
In their findings, the committee said they established that while Mr Mutebile explained that these staffs were recruited in special circumstances (headhunted), he disregarded Section 188.8.131.52.1 of the Administration Manual which provides that the Bank shall maintain the minimum requirements for both internal and external recruitment into the Bank as First Class or Upper Second honours degree.
The Committee recommends that the ratification of the appointment of externally recruited persons should be handled by the Board of Directors as per their mandate under the Administration Manual and the Constitution.
“However, due to the prevailing situation characterized by suspicion and mistrust in the bank and in the interests of ensuring that any decision in this regard is free of any perception of bias, the Committee also recommends that the ratification by the Board should involve an independent professional firm that is familiar with recruitment processes. This firm would be expected to verify the qualifications and competencies of the externally recruited persons against the official bank requirements and present a report to the Board. This firm could be sourced through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to ensure freedom from the perception of bias and guard the integrity of the process,” the report adds.
The Committee recommends that Bank of Uganda urgently review its internal grievance management procedures with a view to restoring trust and confidence among staff in the management of the bank.
“As highlighted in this report, there is distrust among staff about the grievance processes and this has led staff to mostly depend on rumours and talk in the corridors of the bank,’ the report says.
The Committee also recommends that the Board of Bank of Uganda undertake benchmarking study tours of counterpart central banks particularly in Kenya and South Africa in order to determine the applicability of some corporate governance best practices in the respective jurisdictions to the Ugandan context.
“This is because as observed from the benchmarking visits conducted by the Committee there are some good examples in terms of best practice which may serve to address some of the governance problems at the Bank of Uganda. This is particularly necessary with regard to corporate best practice in terms of ethical governance practices and procedures for the Board of Directors,” the report adds.
The committee said they established that while Mr Mutebile explained that these staffs were recruited in special circumstances (headhunted), he disregarded
Section 184.108.40.206.1 of the Administration Manual which provides that the Bank shall maintain the minimum requirements for both internal and external recruitment into the Bank as First Class or Upper Second honours degree.
This was by appointing the staff who did not meet the minimum entry requirements.
The report adds that while Dr Tumubweine had the basic academic requirement of a PhD, he lacked experience and had a pass degree.
It was determined from Dr. Tumubweine’s personal file that he holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Texas in Dallas, United States of America (December 2009), a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Texas in Dallas, United States of America(December 2009), a Master of Science Degree in Management and Administrative Sciences from the University of Texas in Dallas, United States of America (May 2004) and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Statistics and Applied Economics from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda (January 1996).
“When Dr. Tumubweine’s academic qualifications were considered alongside the prescribed requirements stipulated by the policy in the Administration Manual, it was found that his first degree was a pass degree. It, therefore, fell below the standard requirement of 1st Class and Upper Second Honours and also below the standard set for exceptional circumstances which is Lower Second Honours degree.
It is also pertinent to note that Dr. Twinemanzi lacked experience in commercial banking as stipulated in the job description for Executive Director Supervision. There was no mention of any working experience relevant to commercial banking in his personal records at the bank,” the report adds.
For Mr Mugerwa, the Director IT Operations, the report indicates that he is a holder of one degree being a Bachelor of Science (Bsc) in Electrical Engineering obtained from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda in 2000. He passed with Upper Second Class Honours and as such fell within the minimum requirements for entering the Bank of Uganda.
However, with regard to the official Bank job description, the report shows that Mr. Mugerwa lacked the minimum requirement of a Masters degree in Computer Science/Engineering, Information Systems/Technology or closely related field. His personal records revealed that he only possessed a Bachelors degree, the report adds.
For Ms Sabiiti, Procurement Assurance Manager, she was found to be a holder of one degree being a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences (Economics and Political Science) obtained in 1996 from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda in 1996. It was determined from her degree transcript that she held a basic pass degree with no honours.
“This was clearly outside the minimum requirement of Upper Second Honours for normal recruitment and that of Lower Second Honours for recruitment under exceptional circumstances,” the report adds.
For Dr Bazinzi, Assistant Director of Currency Administration, he was found to hold the following academic qualifications: Doctor of Philosophy (Business Management – Finance) obtained from Moi University in Kenya – 2016; Master of Science (Msc) Accounting and Finance – Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda – 2010 and Bachelor of Business Administration – Makerere University Kampala – 2006
The committee indicates that Dr. Bazinzi’s academic transcript for his Bachelor’s degree showed that he graduated with Upper Second Honours and therefore met the minimum recruitment requirement for Banking Officers. However, it adds that close analysis of his working experience and the official job description for an Assistant Director Currency revealed a variation.
“Whereas The job description called for at least 5 years working experience in a financial institution with at least 2 years in the management of currency operations or at least two years as Head of Section in Bank of Uganda his personal records revealed no relevant experience in light of the position he was offered,” the report says.
“Bazinzi lacked the working experience of at least five years in a financial institution with at least two years in management of currency operations or at least two years as Head of Section in Bank of Uganda as stipulated in the official Bank Job Reference CD2.01. According to his CV, Natamba Bazinzi’s experience is largely as an academic and a consultant and he had never worked in a financial institution by the time he was recruited into the Bank. This therefore also begged the question as to what the Governor based himself upon to determine that Bazinzi merited recruitment through headhunting,” the report adds.
The report indicates that while the externally recruited staff all were deemed to have been headhunted, none had had clear evidence to prove that they had been formally approached by the Bank and invited to apply for positions.
For Dr. Bazinzi, the report indicates his personal file showed that he tendered an application for a position in the currency department to the Governor on 18th October 2017.
“According to his testimony he solicited the job and not the other way round,” the report states.
For Dr Tumubweine, the report indicates that there seemed to be persons outside the Bank influencing his appointment.
In Ms. Sabiiti’s case, the report indicates that as much as the Governor claimed to have headhunted her, she stated to the Committee that she had previously submitted an application to the Bank in light of gaps she had identified in procurement and disposal. She then informed the Committee that she had been contacted by the Human Resource Department after the Governor had communicated her appointment on 7th February 2018.
The report states that in all cases the Governor received and unilaterally approved requests from the externally recruited staff to be granted permanent and pensionable status.
“This was in spite of the fact that he claimed that his decision was subject to ratification of the Board of Directors. As much as he made reference to ratification the Board of Directors when appearing, no such reference was evident in the memo of 7th February 2018 and the appointment letters of all the externally recruited staff,” the report adds.
Contrary to the explanation of the Governor, the report states that the procedure that he adopted in the recruitment of five staff from outside the Bank was completely inconsistent with the Bank policy on headhunting and bore no resemblance to any other recruitment process provided in the manual.
All five staff externally recruited by the Governor were therefore recruited outside of the known policies and procedures for recruitment at the Bank.