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Inside Louis Kasekende’s Wealth and Long Banking Career

Journalists and Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials were Thursday shocked as MPs flexed while trying to present documents they allege contain wealth of officials being investigated over the defunct banks.

Aruu County MP Odonga Otto charged at COSASE Chairman Abdu Katuntu, saying he had a dossier showing Deputy Bank of Uganda Governor Louis Kasekende had 72 properties in his name.

“These people were closing banks to enrich themselves. The public has to know the motivation of some people to close banks,” charged Otto who was backed by MP Elijah Okupa.

“The Ministry of lands authenticated the documents by giving a search certificate detailing that these 16 properties are in your names,” he added.

Otto did not give details on his source of the documents and why the Lands Ministry did not authenticate other properties he was tabling for the committee’s investigation.

Katuntu’s efforts seeking restraint didn’t bear fruit.

He, however, quickly called the MPs to his office where they agreed to form a sub-committee to look into the properties of former BoU Executive Director in charge of Supervision, Justine Bagyenda and Kasekende.

According to his assets and income declarations to the IGG, Kasekende boasts several commercial rental properties which include Plot 3 Ggaba Close that is co-owned with A Kasekende and valued at Shs2.1b at the time of filing; Plot 1475 Lubowa Estate Wakiso that is co-owned with E. Kasekende and valued at Shs2b and Plot 12 Corporation Road Ntinda and valued at Shs0.39b.

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Others are; Plot 2 Bukoto Rise Ntinda, valued at 1.3b, Plot 2B Makindu Lane Kololo, valued at 2.0b; Buloba and Plot 706 Block 314, valued at 0.5b.

Kasekende also listed three vehicles including a Mercedes Benz ML 350 (UAG 922E), purchased at $42,000 (about Shs150m), a Mercedes S320 (UAK 150Q), purchased at Shs48m and a Toyota Hilux UAF 840Y purchased at Shs19m.

He also owns 3489 shares in Greenhill Holdings, the company behind Greenhill Academy. He says he jointly owns the shares with his spouse Edith and he earned the money to buy the said shares from his salary savings, travel allowances and research grants.

How did Kasekende accumulate all this wealth?

A close scrutiny of Kasekende’s finances shows he earns an annual salary of Shs 559, 848,000 and allowances of Shs 162,098,748.

His other sources of income are rental income, pension from AFDB and Bank of Uganda.

Kasekende lives in a house provided for and furnished by the central bank.

His driver and workers at the residence are paid by BoU. He has an official car provided and fueled by BoU.

He also is entitled to allowances that allow him educate his kids and donate to the poor. He is an influential member of the Rotary Club.

In short, Kasekende’s welfare is entirely funded by BoU. The Deputy Governor also travels regularly and obtains  research grants from reputable international finance institutions.

This, according to aides, allows him and the Governor to save hundreds of millions of shillings per annum, which, if well invested, can generate wealth.

Kasekende reverted to his position of Deputy Governor at the Bank of Uganda in January 2010.

Let’s assume Kasekende saved at least Shs 500m per annum. In ten years, this would lead to Shs 5bn.

If he invested Shs 2.5bn in a furnished residential apartment block of 25 units with each generating a minimum of Shs 2m, Kasekende would be able to raise Shs 50m per month hence Shs 600m per annum.

Research shows real estate developers spend about 10 percent of rent earnings in renovations. Still, Kasekende would be better off with more than Shs 500m per annum from an investment in an apartment block.

In a period of 10 years, this would translate into Shs 5bn.

Let’s use an example of Speke Apartments owned by embattled property businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

Sudhir charges $160 per day and $2,500 for a one bedroom apartment at Speke Apartments.

For a two bedroom apartment, Sudhir charges $210 per day and $ 3,800 monthly.

The cost is much higher for a three bedroom villa and Penthouse.

In most cases, he has about 80 percent occupancy. From about 50 two-bedroom apartments, Sudhir on average earns $190,000 (Shs 722m) per month. This cost is exclusive of penthouses and villas where he charges an arm and a leg.

In brief, real estate remains one of the most profitable ventures in Uganda and it would not be a surprise if Kasekende made a fortune from investing in this lucrative sector.

Family members who chose anonymity to speak freely say Louis Kasekende is the ‘poorest’ of all the famous Kasekendes who have made a fortune in the banking industry. He also is into commercial agriculture.

His brother, Herman Kasekende was the MD Standard Chartered Bank in Uganda before being transferred to Zambia.

Long Banking Career

Officials say Kasekende’s wealth can as well be traced from his long banking career.

Kasekende reverted to his position of Deputy Governor at the Bank of Uganda in January 2010.

From May 2006 to 2009, he served as Chief Economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB) where he earned about $200,000 per annum.

His three years at AfDB, Kasekende earned about $600,000.

As Chief Economist, he was the Bank’s spokesperson on socio-economic and development issues of importance for Africa.

He supervised the Development Research Department, the Statistics Department and the African Development Institute.

World Bank

Between 2002 and 2004, he served as Alternate Executive Director and later as Executive Director at the World Bank for Africa Group 1, including 22 countries mostly from Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank website shows an Executive Director’s salary ranges from $229,147 to $248,434 per annum. This means at World Bank, Kasekende earned more than $500,000 in a space of just two years.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Kasekende had worked for 17 years at the Bank of Uganda in several capacities, including Director of Research Department, Executive Director responsible for Research and Policy and served as Deputy Governor between 1999 and 2002.

He has previously served as a member of the United Nations Group of Eminent Persons for the Least Developed Countries and the World Bank Knowledge Advisory Commission.

Currently, Dr Kasekende is a Board Member of the African Export Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), the International Economics Association (IEA) and the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC), and is a member of the National Steering Committee on Capital Markets Development in Uganda.

Dr Kasekende holds A Bachelor of Arts Degree of Makerere University, Diploma in Econometrics, Masters of Arts and PhD in Econometrics of the University of Manchester. He has authored several articles in academic journals and books.

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