Former Director for Supervision, Ms Justine Bagyenda has laughed at claims she illegally took sensitive official documents from the central bank, saying she was only carrying personal files.
Bagyenda told the Committee investigating the defunct banks that the luggage contained literature presented at a bankers’ conference in South Africa, which she was returning to the bank on her way from Entebbe airport.
“I did not breach any security measures because I passed through the scanners and presented myself for checking,” said Bagyenda.
She emphasized: “In the bags, I had presentations and gifts from a conference I attended in South Africa.”
BoU’s security was unable to prove that the documents in possession of Bagyenda at the time belonged to the institution.
Bagyenda also said that she was unaware of the restrictions on visitors to the bank when she met Ashwir Kumar, the Managing Director Bank of Baroda, outside normal visiting hours.
Bagyenda was for the first time shown the recordings during a sitting of Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), chaired by Hon. Abdu Katuntu (FDC, Bugweri) on Thursday, 10 January 2019.
Bagyenda appeared together with Bank of Uganda officials including the Director of Security, Milton Opio.
The MPs queried Opio on why some vehicles shown in the video footage did not go through the mandatory checking as required in the Central Banks security regulations, asking if the security personnel at the time had been disciplined for the anomaly.
“Is it a common practice for people to enter the Central Bank’s premises without having their vehicle searched and what action do you take when vehicles are not searched; who is responsible?” asked Hon. Anita Among (Ind., Bukedea district), the Vice Chairperson of the Committee.
The footage presented to COSASE showed two individuals taking out suitcases from the Bank building, and later showed two vehicles exiting the Bank.
Opio acknowledged that the security officers had failed to follow the provisions set for their duties of ensuring security of the institution, adding that some had been subjected to disciplinary measures, while others remain under investigation.
“The security staff flouted security regulations of the bank by not checking the bags as per the CCTV footage; but they also mentioned intimidation. We are still investigating to see if there was any connivance,” said Opio.
The Committee asked Opio to present a report detailing records of vehicle registration numbers and names of visitors to the Central Bank in the period.