MPs turn the heat on Finance ministry over Bagyenda reappointment

In July, Minister Kasaija was forced to distance himself from the controversial appointment when he told Parliament that he had made the call in error.

PARLIAMENT | Legislators under the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption have accused Finance minister Matia Kasaija of irregularly reappointing former central bank director to the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA).

Bagyenda was reappointed to the Authority by Minister Kasaija and was due to appear before the Parliamentary Appointments Committee chaired but it was called off after revelations surfaced that the appointment had been made at a time the former director for supervision at Bank of Uganda was already being investigated.

The team of 35 legislators, led by Manjia County MP John Baptist Nambeshe and Kumi Municipality MP Silas Aogon, told the media at Parliament that they are disappointed with the Ministry of Finance for maintaining Bagyenda’s reappointment despite investigations that are against her.

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Bagyenda is currently under investigations by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Uganda Revenue Authority and FIA over abuse of office and illegally amassing huge wealth.

Nambeshe said that such a person whose character is being questioned should not be vetted by the committee until the investigating authorities have cleared her.

“In section 25 (4) of the Anti-money laundry Act, you cannot reappoint a person who is seen to have moral turpitude like Mrs. Bagyenda having amassed wealth primitively,” Nambeshe said.

Aogon said they suspected that the ministry officials might be behind Bagyenda’s reappointment as well as conniving with her to disadvantage Ugandans.

“The silence by the Ministry of Finance despite us pushing them to reveal why Bagyenda was reappointed creates a lot of suspicion,” Aogon said.

“Why on earth would someone who is under investigations and whose record is taint would be appointed to a board that fights money laundering?”

Nambeshe further warned that Bagyenda should not make a mistake of appearing before the committee even at the later date because members are ready to block her.

“She was lucky that she didn’t appear today, we the 35 legisltors were ready to protest her appointment and we would do verything possible to block her which includes pushing her out of Parliament.”

The legislators advised the Ministry of Finance to drop Bagyenda’s Reappointment with immediate effect.

In July, Minister Kasaija was forced to distance himself from the controversial appointment when he told Parliament that he had made the call in error.

Kasaija said that he made the appointment before IGG and FIA investigations began and that there is still ‘room for correction’.

“When I re-appointed her, the issues of money laundering and others were not yet in the press. There is no way I could have re-appointed her with question marks surrounding her integrity,” Kasaija said.

But when it was put to him that by May 7, it was public knowledge that Bagyenda was under probe, Kasaija asked for another day to crosscheck. “I do not want to commit myself on something I am not sure of, I need to crosscheck,” Kasaija said.

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