I ferried personal not BOU documents, says Bagyenda
The former executive director in charge of Banks Supervision at Bank of Uganda (BOU), Justine Bagyenda, has told legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that she didn’t carry any official documents out of the Central bank.
Bagyenda who has become central figure to the Cosase probe was testifying before the committee during the continuation of its probe into the alleged irregular closure of seven commercial banks between 1993 and 2016. She is accused of ferrying vital documents out of the central bank in an attempt to conceal her role in the irregularity.
“The suitcases and the boxes which had been taken out of the Bank contained my personal documents and photo frames whereas the suitcases which were brought back to the Bank of Uganda contained the documents which I had come with from the Airport,” Bagyenda said.
She said that despite her admission on Tuesday that she indeed carried out documents, the contents of the bags she was seen in CCTV footage ferrying out of the bank premises were hers and included reading materials and gifts given to her during her 35-year tenure at the bank.
Bagyenda was responding to a barrage of questions from the MPs who had just watched CCTV footage provided by Bank of Uganda’s security department on Thursday. In the footage, Bagyenda is seen moving in and out of the bank with some authorised persons whom she said were her personal visitors.
Her aides are also seen carrying out bags and boxes but without going through the requisite security checks as per the Central Bank’s human resource manual.
“We all watched footage, people carrying bags didn’t open the emergency door. I didn’t see the people carrying bags stopping security from checking,” Bagyenda said.
Evidence presented by BoU director of security, Milton Opio indicated that their CCTV cameras captured Bagyenda’s assistant ferrying documents from the central bank. He stated that a review of the security cameras saw Bagyenda’s personal bodyguard Juliet Adikot and driver Job Turyahabwe breach security guidelines and ferry out bags to her car on February 11, 2018 before driving off.
MPs also wondered why she opted to use the emergency exits when moving out the bags.
While the committee hoped to conclude its hearing of the Bank of Uganda testimony yesterday (Thursday), the team was asked to return today after it emerged that the video clips the MPs watched had been edited.
This was after committee chairman Abdu Kantutu asked Bagyenda whether the bags she is seen carrying the bank are still there since the footage doesn’t show her carrying them out.
Byagenda’s bodyguard Juliet Adikolet who prominently appears in the footage carrying in and out of the bank refused to answer some of the questions from the MPs drawing the ire of the committee members.
Bagyenda lost her job at the Central Bank in last February after the controversial closure of Crane Bank.