Inside the sale of Greenland, ICB, and Crane bank in Uganda:

7 November, 2018

Written by Sulaiman Kakaire

BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile

Mr Mutebile the Governor of the Bank of Uganda

 

SULAIMAN KAKAIRE In November last year, when the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) opened an investigation into the defunct banks, it needed credible information, naming names and apportioning responsibility for specific acts of a fraudulent or questionable nature. Without this insight, any parliamentary probe would find itself constrained. A year later, Bugweri county MP, Abdu Katuntu, who chairs Cosase, told The Observer that parliament is now in a firm position with the investigations and Ugandans will have value for the resources spent on the inquiry. “It will be prejudicial to the ongoing process if I share my thoughts about the likely outcome of this process, but the information that has been discovered is so far good and worth it,” he said. Based on Cosase’s working document seen by this newspaper, the committee’s outstanding task will be to apportion blame for the commissions and omissions raised by the auditor general (AG) as well as tracing of the assets of the defunct banks. “We have some information of who benefited from the scheme but we wait to hear from the side of those accused,” said one of the MPs who sits on Cosase, speaking off the record. This MP explained that it is against this background that parliament instructed the AG and inspector general of government (IGG) to investigate the wealth of the top leadership at BoU. “This can give you clues as to where we are heading,” the MP said. On November, 28, 2017, Katuntu requested the auditor general to undertake a special audit on the closure of commercial banks by Bank of Uganda (BoU). Aware that there are several investigations that have previously been carried out on closed banks like Greenland Bank Limited, Katuntu’s committee specifically asked the auditor General to shed light on “the status of the banks at closure, cost of liquidation, status of assets and liabilities of the aforementioned banks from closure to-date, non-performing assets, non-recoverable assets and liquidators.” Under the Financial Institutions Act (FIA) as amended, BoU can revoke the licence of a financial institution if it is satisfied that it has ceased to carry on business, become insolvent, gone into liquidation, wound up, undercapitalised or dissolved. Section 95 of the FIA provides that BoU shall, within a year after taking over a financial institution, consider and implement any of the following options: arrange a merger with another financial institution; arrange for the purchase of assets and assumption of all or some of the liabilities by other financial institutions; arrange to sell the financial institution; liquidate the assets of the financial institution. The parliamentary investigation seeks to establish whether the central bank exercised these powers in accordance with the law. “In specific terms, this investigation is intended to establish the status of the assets and liabilities at the time of takeover and to-date as well as find out whether they have acted in good faith and with due care as receivers and liquidators in the exercise of their general powers,” Katuntu said. Accordingly, the auditor general opened inquiries into how Teefe bank, International Credit Bank Limited, Greenland bank, Cooperative bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust bank and Crane bank came to be shut down. ATTEMPT TO BLOCK INVESTIGATIONS Some individuals attempted to block the parliamentary investigations on ground that it was sub judice. Shareholders of Crane bank and National Bank of Commerce are battling BoU in the High court over the closure of their respective banks. Indeed, deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah had stopped Cosase on this very ground. However, Katuntu approached Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who intervened to save the parliamentary investigations. Kadaga indicated that the inquiry did not materially touch the issues in the court. At the same time, the Financial Intelligence Authority and the Inspectorate of Government were carrying out a parallel inquiry into suspected illicit financial transactions said to involve former BoU director for supervision, Justine Bagyenda. The FIA executive director, Sydney Asubo, told The Observer that his mandate is not to investigate, but source information. “It is within that context that we formed ground to justify further investigations into the illicit finance flows,” Asubo said. When asked whether this is good ground to question central bank mandarins, Asubo said: “I would not advise further investigations if the information sourced is flimsy. Whereas I cannot discuss what our report says, I can confirm that we formed the ground to justify investigations.” We understand that the FIA report, which was shared with the speaker to parliament, IGG and minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, was the basis upon which Kadaga, weeks ago, called off the process of approving Bagyenda’s nomination as a new member on the FIA board. IGG INVESTIGATIONS Meanwhile, in the background, IGG’s own probe found itself almost getting muddled by a behind-the-scenes power play which threatened to further undermine the integrity of the central bank. The bank governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, was the subject of wide-ranging whistle-blower allegations from individual employees of BoU who claimed their rights and freedoms were being violated. The IGG was, therefore, asked to inquire into the very competence of the bank’s top management. Matters came to a head with the appointment of one Twinemanzi Tumubweine to replace Bagyenda, as executive director supervision. This appointment was derided as having been premised on conflict of interest, nepotism and influence peddling. Tumubweine is son to Manzi Tumubweine, who has been a member of BoU’s board of directors. The petition also said Twinemanzi was unqualified for the job. Very quickly, a war of words broke out between the Inspectorate of Government and the governor with the latter arguing that the constitutional guarantees of independence outlined in respect to BoU insulated him from investigations by the IGG. The impasse saw an exchange of several legal opinions and letters between the two constitutional bodies, ultimately prompting the intervention of President Museveni. Museveni called a meeting at State House-Entebbe attended by the governor; his deputy, Dr Louis Kasekende, the IGG, and Katuntu in his capacity as chairperson of Cosase, which exercises parliamentary oversight over both institutions. At the conclusion of the meeting, the president set up a harmonised committee chaired by Katuntu to quietly investigate the issues and power politics at BoU. This ad hoc committee is yet to report to the president. However, along the way, the AG released a preliminary report on the defunct banks. AUDITOR GENERAL’S FINDINGS The report from his special audit of Bank of Uganda and defunct banks was released last month. Auditor General John Muwanga revealed that there were no documented guidelines/regulations or policies in place for the identification of the purchasers of Gold Trust Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Crane Bank Limited. “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. In the absence of guidelines, I could not establish the basis used to select the purchaser and determining the values of assets and liabilities transferred by BoU to the purchaser,” the AG’s report notes. The AG further noted that BoU did not carry out a requisite valuation of assets and liabilities of the three defunct banks whose fate was resolved under the ‘purchase and assumption’ arrangement. “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.” Whereas the AG was availed with the asset movement schedules for Greenland Bank, ICB and Cooperative bank indicating details of assets at closure, assets sold, selling price, period sale, unsold assets, performing and non-performing loans from time of closure to the year 2001, for the period starting 2002 when the liquidation role was directly performed by BoU, no asset movement schedules were availed. To that effect, the AG notes, “I could not adequately verify the movement of assets of the three banks from Shs 117.6 billion at closure to Shs 19.7bn as at 30th June 2016.” In the case of ICB, Greenland bank and Cooperative bank, the total loan portfolio sold of Shs135bn included secured loans of Shs34.5bn sold to Nile River Acquisition Company at a 93% discount. The AG also discovered that the Crane Bank non-performing loans worth Shs 570.38bn out of the gross loans of Shs 1,159bn, were sold to dfcu Bank at what appears to be heavily discounted cost of Shs200bn. “I could not establish how the consideration of Shs 200bn was derived from the bad book of Shs 570.38bn…Further, I was not provided with the schedule of loans and the corresponding collateral transferred to dfcu.” On Friday, Cosase is expected to again meet with BoU officials to clarify on the issues raised in the AG’s report. skakaire@observer.ug

In November last year, when the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) opened an investigation into the defunct banks, it needed credible information, naming names and apportioning responsibility for specific acts of a fraudulent or questionable nature. 

 

 

 

 

 

As the auditing of the Bank of Uganda continues, key documents on the 7 closed banks in Uganda go missing:

 

Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, governor BoU

Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, governor BoU 

UGANDA, Kampala. New details from a confidential special audit report into closed banks have revealed what some lawmakers called “games” by officials at the Central Bank after it emerged that some of the vital documents disappeared under unclear circumstances. 
In his August report to Parliament, Auditor General John Muwanga said key information/ documents relevant to closure of the defunct banks were not availed, constraining the specific objectives of the special audit into BoU dealings. 
Mr Muwanga has also captured these frustrations among the limitations to his findings. 
Although for some closed banks like Teefe Trust Bank which was closed in 1993, BoU failed to find the documents and instead promised to keep searching in the achieves, 
Mr Muwanga said: “It is possible that documents and information [on the closed banks] exist which were not made available to me or which I was unable to locate,” the Auditor General’s report reads.

Findings
Mr Muwanga has queried BoU officials on missing documents for the closure of Teefe Bank (1993), International Limited (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), The Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and the sale of Crane Bank Limited to dfcu (2016). 
On the controversial sale of Crane Bank , AG found that key information on the recovery of non-performing loans of Crane Bank was not given to him during the audit yet this information was critical in establishing whether proper inventory of the assets and liabilities was undertaken at closure in line with Section 89 (3) of Financial Institutions Act 2004 and Section 32 (3) of the Financial Institutions Statute, 1993. 
According to the Purchase and Assumption agreement signed between BoU and dfcu on January 25 2017, clause 1.1.1(ix) provides that all loans and advances of Crane Bank Limited be transferred to dfcu except the insider loans referred to in schedule 2 of the P&A. At the time of P&A, the non¬ performing loans (bad book) was Shs570.3b out of the gross loans of Shs1.1 trillion. 
Although the Crane Bank shareholders say BoU illegally transferred Shs570.3b to dfcu, the AG has revealed that the bad book was transferred to dfcu to provide a resource for repayment of the assumed liability of Shs200b and bridge the shareholder’s deficit of Shs439.72b at the date of takeover. 
However, since BoU officials did not provide the key documents, the Auditor General said he failed to establish how the consideration of Shs200b was derived from the bad book of Shs570.38b. 
The dfcu bank has so far paid Shs98.3b of the Shs200b liability. The AG observed that the valuations of the assets and liabilities of CBL was done by dfcu. AG did not find any valuation report done by BoU. Mr Muwanga has questioned this transaction in his report to parliament.
In what has been interpreted by some legislators on accountability committees as “a veiled attempt by mafias to frustrate the work of the Auditor General”, Mr Muwanga indicated in his report to Parliament that Mr Mutebile’s team did not give him the schedule of loans and the corresponding collateral transferred to dfcu bank. As such Mr Muwanga said: “I was unable to establish the values and categories of loans transferred (performing loans, non-performing loans and fully provisioned/written off loans (bad book).”
Commenting on missing documents the Mr Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), a members of the Public Accounts Committee said: “You get a feeling that perhaps the current AG is an outsider. The mafia that camped at BoU cannot trust him with information. It could also be part of the syndicate to frustrate the probe, aware of the polity that played prior to and after the closure of some banks. We are talking about illegal bank closures and assets stripping, aware of the cabal that has been into the business of gathering assets at all costs.”
The audit also found that the Statutory Manager appointed by BoU after they took over the management of Crane Bank in 2016 prepared CBL annual report and financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2016 but these were not signed and the same manager did not provide financial statements for the period January 1, 2017 to January 25, 2017 (P&A completion date).

Asset movement schedules
“I was therefore unable to ascertain the financial performance of CSL during statutory management and its financial position at January 25, 2017. As such, I was also unable to establish the details and values of assets and liabilities transferred to dfcu,” the AG reports adds.
Although asset movement schedules for Greenland Bank, ICB and Cooperative Bank indicating details of assets at closure, assets sold, selling price, period sale, unsold assets, performing and non-performing loans from time of closure to the year 2001 when the liquidation role was outsourced were availed, for the period starting 2002 when the liquidation role was directly performed by BoU, no asset movement schedules were availed. “Therefore, I could not adequately verify the movement of assets of the 3 banks from Shs117.6b at closure to Shs19.7b as at June30, 2016,” Mr Muwanga’s report reads.
On January 30, 2018 and April 10 2018, Mr Muwanga requested for documentation relating to all closed banks specifically the inventory report, loan schedules, customer deposit schedules, statement of affairs and any reports supporting assets and liabilities taken over by BOU. 
However, he says BoU officials didn’t avail him with sufficient documentation relating to Teefe Trust Bank to enable him fulfil the specific audit objectives. 
Under Section 37 of the National Audit Act, 2008, a person commits an offence who without any lawful justification or excuse, refuses or fails to give to the Auditor General or any person authorised by the Auditor General, access to any property books, records, returns or other documents, information.

 

 

 

 

 

Liquidation of National Bank of Commerce continues

By Vision Reporter, Samuel Sanya and Andante Okanya

 

Added 2nd October 2012

The Bank of Uganda (BOU) has said an interim Constitutional Court order in favour of the embattled National Bank of Commerce (NBC) is “negative in nature” and cannot reverse the liquidation process of the bank.

The Central Bank took over NBC last Thursday, physically seizing and closing all its branches before a court injunction was acquired a day later.

“Selected assets and all deposits of NBC were sold and assumed by Crane Bank, which is duty bound to allow former NBC depositors to access their deposits,” said a statement from the Central Bank.

“In light of the above, the interim order, in the present circumstances, is incapable of any practical implementation other than restraining the calling for and payment of other creditors as aforementioned,” the statement added.

A ring of youth clad in Crane Bank T-shirts and armed Police officers were staged at the entrance to the NBC Kampala branch. Media reports indicate that there were minor skirmishes between Crane bank and NBC staff during the takeover.

Clients of the embattled NBC Bank were seen trickling into the bank’s Cargen House branch yesterday before being re-directed to the Crane Bank head office for processing.

“I have not seen any interim court order halting the takeover. We are going ahead with Bank of Uganda’s instructions to issue deposits to the former NBC clients and we are issuing them Crane Bank ATM cards,” A. R. Kalan, the Crane Bank boss, said.

Previous bank closures of the Greenland Bank and Cooperative Bank between 1990 and 2000 saw depositors lose money in excess of the sh3m maximum payout.

In a media statement, Crane Bank said all former NBC customers will have unlimited access to their entire deposits at Crane Bank, not restricted to any ceiling.

Commercial lawyer Julius Galisonga on Monday said the interim order cannot deter BoU from performing its statutory duty.

He said for as long as BoU acts within the law, it cannot be blamed for doing what is expected of it.

“The wider interest is the public interest, which is much bigger than the interest of the directors and shareholders.

The order cannot nullify revocation and sale of assets of NBC. It can only maintain what was there at time when the order was made,” Galisonga said.

“If it is a dead body, you can only use the interim order to preserve it. You cannot use the order to resuscitate it.” 

Galisonga noted that since BoU derives its powers from the Financial Institutions Act, its fundamental duty is to protect depositors.

The Central Bank maintains that it acted swiftly and in goodwill to ensure that the depositors’ funds are safe and available to the depositors immediately and in full through the sale of NBC to Crane Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

In Uganda, the National Bank of Commerce has Closed:

27 September, 2012
 
By AllAfrica news, Jeff Mbanga
 
Bank of Uganda takes over Mbabazi, Rugunda's bank After more than three troubled years of boardroom battles, weak balance sheets, and stretching the patience of its clients to unimaginable limits, the National Bank of Commerce finally ran out of time yesterday afternoon, with Bank of Uganda revoking its license.
 

A statement from the Central Bank noted that the action was taken because "NBC's activities [are] detrimental to the interests of its depositors". So detrimental that BoU opted to suspend NBC's board.

 

 

 

 

 

Bank of Uganda Sued Over Closure of Mbabazi’s Bank:

Mr Mbabazi and Mr Mutebile of the Bank of Uganda

54 former employees of the defunct National Bank of Commerce have sued Bank of Uganda, sickhttp://cerlalc.org/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/wc-page-functions.php demanding for their unpaid salaries, ask special and general damages arising out of the termination of the operations of the bank.

The employees represented by Fred Twinobusingye, and Frank Mutaremwa  through their lawyers of M/S Akampurira and Partners Advocates argue that termination of the bank’s operations without notifying them was unlawful and that the Central Bank should be held liable for their lost jobs and inconvenience.

 

They also demand for interest arising from their earnings before the “wrongful” termination of their running contracts at the NBC before it was liquidated.

The Central Bank in September 2012, liquidated the bank in exercise of Section 88(1) and (b) of the Financial Institutions Act of 2004, before issuing letters terminating services of all its employees.

NBC was formed in 1991, and was named Kigezi Bank of Commerce, with a mission to provide banking services and inexpensive loans to the Kigezi Community.

During the mid-1990s, the Gidoomals, a family of Asian descent and Kenyan citizenship acquired 86% shareholding in the bank. In April 2008, the Gidoomal brothers sold their shares to former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and tycoon Amos Nzeyi.

While terminating the Bank’s operations, Bank of Uganda said it had determined that the continuation of NBC’s activities was detrimental to the interests of its depositors.

About a year before its closure, the bank was the 22nd largest commercial bank in Uganda with an estimated asset valuation of approximately US$20 million or slightly more than 0.25% of all bank assets in the country

The Kabale High Court registrar Samuel Emokor yesterday issued summons to the Central Bank to file its defense in 15 days from the date of service and failure would result   the case being heard and determined in their absence

On July 14th 2015  the affected former employees  of National bank of commerce petitioned  president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni seeking  for  his intervention to compel Bank  of Uganda to pay them terminal benefits in accordance with the law but nothing positive came out of the petition.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bank of Uganda has appointed an advisor for the famous National Bank of Commerce as the ownership dispute lingers on:

23 March, 2012

 

Bank of Uganda yesterday appointed Mr Abbas Mawanda, a professional banker advisor to advise the National Bank of Commerce on its affairs, following a shareholder dispute that is threatening to tear it apart.

 

 

According to an official statement signed by the deputy governor Dr Louis Kasekende, the move seeks to protect customer deposits, whose shareholders are in the process of resolving an ownership dispute.

The dispute among shareholders follows the teaming up of International Investment House (IHH) and the bank’s minority shareholders to push for a court injunction, stopping any further operations of the bank until court pronounces itself on the cases before it.

On Thursday last week, IHH, a consortium of Arab investors, through their lawyers, Shonubi, Musoke, & Co Advocates filed a case with the Kampala High Court Commercial Division, against the bank’s three majority shareholders including Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, ICT minister Ruhakana Rugunda, and prominent businessman Amos Nzei seeking to recover about Shs24.4 billion ($9.97 million) invested in the bank or relinquish 76 per cent majority shares of the bank.

This came at a time when the same court continues with another case filed by the minority shareholders challenging the legality of the bank.

Bank of Uganda, however, said that the National Bank of Commerce will continue to operate normally under the new arrangement it put in place and that the dispute is expected to be settled within a month.

“Being a regulator of the banking industry, we got concerned about the dispute and never wanted to take chances that’s why that was done to avoid any influence,” Mr Jan Tibamwenda, BoU director communications told Daily Monitor on phone yesterday. According to Justice George W. Kanyeihamba, one of the 324 minority shareholders, the majority shareholders at the time were Mukwano Industries which invested Shs100 million in the bank and one Kumar, an Indian businessman who invested Shs97.9 million ($40,000).

fkulabako@ug.nationmedia.com

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