Bagyenda admits to carrying bags out of BoU
PARLIAMENT | Coming under intense scrutiny from legislators, Justine Bagyenda has confirmed carrying bags of documents from Bank of Uganda.
However, the former executive director in charge of supervision at the central bank insisted that the items she carried away were personal citing plaques she obtained in her banking career.
The issue surrounding the ‘carting out’ of files in bags from BoU were of much interest in December and saw Bagyenda’s bodyguard and driver booked into jail for refusing to cooperate on the matter.
At the time, central bank officials and security confirmed to MPs on the Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) that Bagyenda and bodyguard Juliet Adikolet and driver Dan Turyahabwe had indeed carried away at least two bags filled with unspecified items in February last year.
Since the bags were not checked at the screening point, officials could not tell what their former director was carrying away, but another official would later tell Cosase that the central bank had tried to recover documents Bagyenda took out illegally.
Appearing before the committee on Tuesday, the MPs tasked Bagyenda to explain the contents of the bags her staff carried out the central bank.
Bagyenda first protested to answer demanding to have a look at the CCTV footage that the committee relied on to accuse her, but Cosase chair Abdu Katuntu insisted she first answers questions before having accessing to the footage.
Katuntu said: “I am not comfortable at this repeatedness of ‘be fair to me,’ it is as if we are here to hunt for you and that isn’t true. We are trying to be as fair as possible to everybody. The only problem is, most of these things you did it.”
Bagyenda finally bowed to the heat and responded: “The bags had my personal documents, I had MBA books, I had plaques they were so many of them, I had pictures. I had materials which I got from all the conferences I used to attend as a consultant in IMF, World Bank. There were also files for The Finance Intelligence Authority where I was a board member, there were also files for the Micro Finance Support Centre where I was a board member for six years.”
Bagyenda had also demanded to have the Governor, Deputy Governor, Executive Director Administrating, Director Security, Director HR, the consultant for security and the personal assistant to the governor to be present during her grilling, arguing that allegations c brought against her happened when she was still in the bank and these were her bosses.
However, her request angered Katuntu who told her off.
“You need to get this one, we run this meeting our own way not the way you want it to be run. Can you just answer the question? Why did you carry things from the bank without going through security in any case, what did you carry?” Katuntu asked.
Bagyenda then replied; “May I request I review the CCTV because you said you have reviewed, I haven’t reviewed the CCTV. Bags were carried out, I don’t remember files. Let me look at the CCTV.”
Katuntu: We are going to give you the CCTV for your review, there is no doubt about that, but first answer these questions as they are put.
Beatrice Anywar: Is there any moment in the Bank of Uganda that anything can bypass the security check point as an EDS? What would be allowed to go through the emergency exit door?
Bagyenda: That question can be answered by Director Security.
Katuntu: Were you checked yourself?
Bagyenda: When I was getting out of my office, I passed through the scanner.
Katuntu: Were there incidences when you would not bypass through the scanner?
Bagyenda: I need to see the CCTV on that day. When the emergency doors weren’t working and scanners, that is why I need to look at the CCTV.
Anywar: Bagyenda was the top executive of the bank, did you find it strange that any officer would bypass the bank’s security?
Bagyenda: I don’t remember.
Elijah Okupa: Order! Bagyenda is on WhatsApp yet serious issues are being asked. Is she in order?
Katuntu: I didn’t see that, so I can’t rule on that. But if she was on WhatsApp, that is impolite.
Bagyenda: There are those incidences when those doors aren’t working.
Katuntu: We aren’t talking generally, we are talking about this particular incidence. Is it true that eventually this issue raised concern to security and there was an attempted search warrant to your residence and you complained to security?
Bagyenda: I have personal emails to that?
Katuntu: Is it also true that you were again seen coming with bags?
Bagyenda: Allow me read this personal email to Director of Security where I stated that effective….. if I recall, I informed the director of security that I will be coming in with my personal documents. But the Director of Security told me that there is no officer at that point, it was a Saturday and waited on Monday and I was checked by a security officer, James Otim.
Katuntu: So this time, you found it necessary to inform Director Security whereas just a few minutes ago, you said you don’t remember?
Bagyenda: The consultant came and told me, there is an email to that effect. The consultant came and we had a discussion. There was also an email from the Director Security on 16th March 2018 and he was quoting administrative manual is reminding me that all persons, employees shall go through security screening without exception if accessing the bank shall be subjected to a search at all points of exit. Breach os any of the provisions shall render the employee liable for disciplinary action.
Katuntu: Did you breach any of those laws?
Bagyenda: To my recollection, no. I don’t recall whether I defied laws of security, that is why I need to look at CCTV.
Medard Sseggona: It is a very serious issue that we are interrogating, first the accusations we are putting across Bagyenda and as she says she looks at the CCTV would you guide that whether it isn’t procedurally correct that we appoint a specific date, time and place and we agree how we are going to proceed on the matter?