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Kampala- Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja has blocked the staff changes that Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile made recently pending conclusion of investigations into allegations that the decision on the same was irregular.
Mr Mutebile on February 7 sent out a memo announcing an array of staff transfers and new hires.
The most eye-catching decision was to retire Ms Justine Bagyenda, the executive director commercial banks supervision, with “immediate effect”.
According to the changes, Dr Tumubweine Twinemanzi, who was the director of industry affairs and content (economic affairs) at Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), was to replace Ms Bagyenda, but Ms Bagyenda objected to the changes and refused to hand over office.
Ms Bagyenda argued, among other issues, that she had been illegally replaced and that Mr Mutebile had acted without the authority of BoU’s Board of Directors, which she said was compulsory in such cases.
Unnamed employees also petitioned the IGG calling for an investigation into Mr Mutebile’s handling of the bank.
“The above changes were done outside the approved BoU HR policy and are influenced by a clique of people who claim to be working for State House to “clean up” the institution,” the petition to the IGG, also copied to the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase), reads in part.
It adds: “Such irregularities have been happening for some time now and have caused a lot of demotivation and demoralisation of staff based on tribal and sectarian grounds. Staff productivity is at an all-time low and staff are leaving (sic) under fear and uncertainty.”
Daily Monitor has learnt that Ms Mulyagonja wrote to Mr Mutebile asking him to defend himself against the allegations and the Governor wrote back.
In a follow-up March 12 letter, a copy of which we have seen, Ms Mulyagonja writes: “This is to direct the Board of Directors of BoU not to ratify any actions or decisions taken by the Governor on or around February 7, 2018 in relation to the impugned appointments and transfers until such time as the investigation by the Inspectorate has been concluded or until this office directs otherwise.”
In the letter, Ms Mulyagonja insulates her directive from arguments of the independence of BoU that Mr Mutebile could raise by citing the law.
“Please note that we are fully aware of the constitutional independence of the Bank with regard to the execution of its functions as laid out under Article 162 of the Constitution of Uganda. However, such independence is only guaranteed where the Bank is deemed to be acting in good faith and in accordance with the law, relevant regulations and policies and the principles of natural justice,” the letter reads.
Sources in BoU say whereas Mr Mutebile eventually allowed Ms Bagyenda to hand over the docket of executive director banks supervision but keep at the Bank until she retires at the end of July, the latter declined to hand over.
Mr Mutebile then reportedly sought legal advice on how to handle the situation and he, upon being told that he could not fire her or else he could get embroiled in a needless legal battle, he offered her the position of “adviser to the Governor”.
Ms Bagyenda reportedly accepted the position but still did not hand over to Dr Twinemanzi.
As the saga was still unfolding, the Board refused to endorse the appointment of Dr Twinemanzi as questions mounted on how he was “procured” since the position was not advertised.
The Board, our source say, decided to give Mr Mutebile “one month to think about the matter”, leaving Dr Twinemanzi out of office until now.
We were unable to reach Mr Mutebile for a comment on this matter.
General Kale Kayihura has today officially handed over the office of Inspector General of Police to his successor, Martin Okoth Ochola.
At a ceremony at the Uganda Police Force headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, the curtain came down on Kayihura's over 12 years as the head of Uganda's law enforcement agency. He said he will remain a loyal soldier of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) and a cadre in the struggle to liberate Uganda.
Gen Kale Kayihura hands over a report to his former deputy Okoth Ochola
Kayihura thanked President Yoweri Museveni for trusting him and elevating him to the top, not just in the police, but in the army where he rose through the ranks to become a General.
President Museveni on March 4 replaced Kayihura with his deputy, Okoth Ochola. Gen. Elly Tumwine took over as minister for Security, replacing Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde. The former Military Police commandant, Brig. Sabiiti Muzeyi takes over as deputy IGP.
Kayihura regretted his failures during the last 12 years as the head of the police, but spoke confidently about his tenure as the police boss noting that he leaves behind a better force than the one he inherited in November 2005.
"During my tenure as IGP, I may have fallen short in my assignment and that I deeply regret. But that is human and it is not due to lack of trying.
Perhaps to signal that he's out of the police force, Kayihura turned up dressed in his full military General's uniform. Despite his expression of regret, he outlined his achievements with confidence, only attributing his failure to the bad image in the force over the "last one year or so."
"Apart from the recent bad image which I will not be tempted to speak about its source, I am leaving a better police than I found," Kayihura said.
As he summarised his 20-paged handover report, the incoming IGP and his deputy Brigadier Muzeyi looked on.
During some of Kayihura's utterances, Ochola laughed heartily while Muzeyi maintained a serious face and made note of all key issues in his diary. During the vetting process, Ochola reportedly blamed the police mess on Kayihura, who he said respected no institutions.
Deputy IGP Sabiiti Muzeyi with IGP Okoth Ochola at Kayihura's handover. Photo: Nicholas Bamulanzeki
Kayihura apologised to whoever he may have hurt or wronged during his time as IGP, but noted that he did that in his line of duty, not personally. He thanked all the people he worked with from the ministers and senior civil servants to cleaners and those who served him tea.
All the other police directors watched on as Kayihura made a 30-minute statement. The handover ceremony began in a closed-door session at the IGP's office wing with only the ministers, General Jeje Odongo and state minister Obiga Kania, witnessing the handover from Kayihura to Ochola.
Like has been his culture, once the first session was over and all others joined the waiting officers in the main boardroom, Kayihura kept them waiting for about five minutes before he majestically marched through the corridors greeting people.
In a light mood, he asked journalists who had stood to take his pictures how he looked in his military attire.
There couldn’t have been a better time to sell Uganda. The 4th World Customs Organisation (WCO) conference sitting at Serena hotel in Kampala has gathered at least 1,000 delegates from 169 countries.
And President Museveni used the chance to charm delegates not just about the country’s tax regimes but also a tourism gem Uganda has become.
President Museveni addressing delegates at the 4th World Customs Organisation (WCO) conference
“Uganda is one of the three spots in the world right on the equator but on the high altitude. The other spot is near Mount Kenya and the Ecuador,” Museveni told delegates. “Please do your customs conference, but don’t miss on human contact and tourism so that you have a story to tell when you go home.”
World Customs Organisation is an independent intergovernmental body representing more than 182 customs administrations across the globe and collectively processes 98% of the global trade.
This is the first time the conference has been held in Africa – previous meetings were held in South Korea, Spain, and Cancun Mexico. It attracts tax experts, civil society, academia and traders. The conference being held in Uganda is hosted by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
A tourism pitch was handy as Uganda’s tourism sector has become such an important part of the country’s purse that billions of shillings have been spent to hire public relations firms to market the country abroad. Tourism earns the country about $1.4bn annually, dwarfing coffee receipts and diaspora remittances.
“They [conference organisers] will give me the attendance list and will interact with each of you later,” Museveni said amid cheers. “Apart from the customs conference, don’t miss out on the tourism,” president pitched.
“Uganda is right on the equator but on the high altitude side. When you go out, the climate is mild. Even if you don’t work hard, you can survive. You find somebody here who does nothing but very fat,” he said in a brag about the country’s favourable climate.
The president said Africa had missed the industrial revolution that most western countries witnessed because of slave trade and colonialism. He added, however, that continent now was more united and “Africa will not miss again. It will be part of the global trade on equal terms,” Museveni said.
Dickson Kateshumbwa, URA commissioner for customs, picked the moment and told delegates to book for their next holiday in the country and spend on the local goods available.
“Think about investing in Uganda,” he said.
This year’s conference focused on the Authorised Economic Operator – an instrument used to give most tax compliant firms a privilege to import or export their products without much customs checks.
This has advantage of reducing clearing time with companies making enormous savings. URA Commissioner General Doris Akol said at least 51 firms in Uganda have been granted the AEO privilege and they account for at least 28 per cent of the country’s international taxes.
“A high proportion of customs revenue is paid by people on the AEO,” Akol said. “We have seen a lot of people especially those trading across the region express a lot of desire to join the programme.”
She said they tax body was doing assessments to see if they deserve to be given the privilege.
Africa and Uganda in particular share of global trade remains very small. The continent accounts for just about 2 per cent of global trade. To gain fully from the WCO programmes, the continent must increase its share in global production.
Forum for Democratic Change candidate Paul Mwiru has been declared winner of the Jinja East by-election by the Electoral Commission.
In a poorly attended election, Mwiru polled 6,654 votes against NRM's Igeme Nabeta who polled 5,043 votes. Mwiru said he entered the election with a loss of over 2,000 votes in reference to the alleged 2,000 ghost voters on the registry and the over 8,000 pre-ticked votes that were allegedly confiscated from Nabeta's camp.
Paul Mwiru addressing the media after being declared winner of Jinja East by-election. Photo: @joycebagala1
Thousands of pre-ticked ballot papers in favour of the NRM candidate, Nabeta, were discovered from Iganga Road Junction polling station, according to election watchdog, Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).
Electoral Commission spokesperson, Jotham Taremwa later in a statement disowned the pre-ticked ballot papers, saying on scrutiny, the electoral body verified that the serial numbers of those ballot papers were not from the Electoral Commission.
The by-election was occasioned by a court ruling that nullified Nabeta's 2016 election victory on grounds that he connived with the Electoral Commission to alter results at Danida A-D polling station which put him at an advantage.
The by-election attracted eight candidates but the real contest was between NRM's Nabeta and Paul Mwiru of the FDC.
Other candidates included Faisal Mayemba, Francis Wakabi, Christine Monica Abuze, Paul Mugaya and Hatim Isabirye Mugendi.
Mwiru claims about 500 of his voters were arrested ahead of the polls. He dedicated the win to those arrested voters, saying his victory is a win against the EC, police, army who worked together to fail him.