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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.