Former Central Bank executive director, Ms Justine Bagyenda is seeking repossession of her passports to enable her travel for a Christmas holiday.
The passports were confiscated by parliament's Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) early this month after Ms Bagyenda snubbed the committee, where she was expected to respond to queries on the irregularities in the sale of commercial banks over the years.
The committee is investigating circumstances under which the Central Bank closed and sold Teefe Trust Bank, International Credit Bank Ltd, Greenland Bank, Uganda Co-operative Bank, National Bank of Commerce, Global Trust Bank and Crane Bank Ltd. The banks were closed between 1993 and 2016.
But at a time she was needed to respond to the queries, Ms Bagyenda suddenly traveled to Houston, U.S.A to attend the International Trauma Summit. During her absence in the country, the evidence presented to the committee indicated that she was in charge of supervision at the time of the closure of banks, and was central in all operations and irregularities of the bank.
Upon her return, Ms Bagyenda was asked to deposit both her International and East African Community (EAC) passports with the Parliament Police officer in charge.
COSASE Chairperson Abdu Katuntu Friday said that he had received a letter from Bagyenda requesting for her passports.
“It is addressed to the chairperson and says this is to request you to release the above mentioned passport which I deposited with the OC CID Parliament on December 3 to enable me arrange my Christmas holiday travels outside the country. This is the other letter which I'm yet to take a decision,” said Mr Katuntu.
But Katuntu says that Bagyenda is a very critical witness since all the bank closure transactions were based in her office and that they cannot have a useful meeting in her absence.
"But what takes precedence, is it your Christmas Holiday or not? Then two, if it's just the Christmas time we will also not be here during Christmas time. So we shall have to balance," said Katuntu in part.
Katuntu said that they will base their decision on the committee's programme.
“"We can’t refuse anybody to go for Christmas. But then whether she goes for Christmas, she must be here when we need her. So she should tell us when she is leaving. She has reconcile her travel with the committee programme and where they conflict, the committee programme prevails over her travels because we are not going to stop this process because Madam Bagyenda is on holiday. However, we can't also keep here when the committee is not meeting. It is soon going to be Christmas festival and people will be going for Christmas. She will take advantage of the committee programme. If she can convince us that she can travel and come back then there’s no problem,” Mr Katuntu added.