Finance

Finance (353)

Africa's Debt Is Still Under Control Says African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) remains strong with growing operating revenues and allocable income generated since 2010 reaching $2.5 billion, the Bank Group’s Treasurer, Hassatou Diop N'sele, stated on Thursday.

In 2018, the Bank earned $214 million in allocable income, 48% of which has been reinvested in the institution to reinforce reserves and its business growth capacity. The bullish numbers were revealed during the Bank’s Financial presentation Thursday, a highlight of the 2019 Annual Meetings of the Bank currently underway in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The panel was led by N’sele and Simon Mizrahi, Director of Service Delivery, Performance Management and Results at the Bank.

During the presentation attended by delegates, Governors, Executive Directors and Bank staff, N’Sele noted that the Bank could chart a new path on account of its ability to raise funds on the capital markets. “The amount of infrastructure financing covered by private sector could double if African countries harness the full potential of their capital markets.”

According to N'sele, a number of African countries could save as much $1 billion on a 20-year loan, if they borrow from the African Development Bank, instead of from the Eurobond market, due to preferable lending rates.

Delegates were informed of the Bank’s successful issuance of the first-ever NOK social bond sold in Norway and sealed in 2018.

Despite challenges, Africa’s debt is still under control

On debt sustainability, Africa’s debt has increased in recent years “but not to unsustainable levels,” Mizrahi indicated but he pleaded for caution. “We need to continue to generate financing and spur growth without increasing debt.”

Sharing insights on Africa’s path forward, Mizrahi underscored the need to harness the continent’s incredible potential in renewable energy.

Africa is the most vulnerable continent and suffers the most from climate change but “with the right vision, investments and political commitments, Africa can lead a global energy revolution and leapfrog to renewable technologies. 

This is why the Bank is putting its money where its mouth is and investing more than any other development Bank in helping the continent transition towards more resilient and sustainable economies,” he concluded.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfTCA) ushering a new era in intra-African trade

According to Mizrahi, AfCTA paves the way to the world’s largest free trade area with an integrated market of 1.3 billion consumers.

“This is important because Africa will struggle to be competitive at the global scale, if it continues to operate as 54 fragmented economies. The continent needs to be more integrated, it needs larger economic spaces so that Africa can attract more investors, create more and better jobs, boost internal trade and create continent-wide value chains that are globally competitive.”

The panel moderated by the Victor Oladokun, the Bank's Director of Communication, noted that AfCFTA is expected to boost cross-border infrastructure, drive competitiveness and make the continent a smaller place by integrating markets.

In her concluding remarks, N’sele expressed the Bank’s appreciation for Canada’s unwavering support to the institution with the recently announced $1.1 billion callable capital. “This will allow to continue to meet our financial ratio” before a decision is made on the 7th General Capital Increase,” she said.

We are, the continent’s only triple-A rated institution. Our rating means that our bonds are the absolute safest in the world. It gives confidence to investors across the globe that their investment in African Development Bank bonds is secured.”

The discussions included gender issues, especially the Bank’s flagship Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program, which seeks to mobilize $3 billion to close the financing gender gap for women entrepreneurs.

Bank Of Uganda Was Used By UN To smuggle Goods Into Uganda - Ofwono

Government’s spokesperson Ofwono Opondo reveals that Bank of Uganda (BoU) was used by UN to smuggle blood reagents and solar systems into the county, The Observer reported.

The newspaper also stated that eight Bank of Uganda top officials are under investigation by the State House Anti-corruption unit for alleged collusion in a procurement and supply chain process anomaly.

Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo says in April this year, about 15 Bank of Uganda officials travelled to Paris, France to procure 'printable items' for the government.

Government then on April 27, chartered a plane from Paris to Entebbe, but among Bank of Uganda’s official 20 pallets, according to Opondo, there were other extra 5 pallets of 13 private individuals and organizations including the United Nations (UN) irregularly loaded unto the cargo plane. No other items were meant to be on the plane except Bank of Uganda's.

Ofwono says it is surprising that organisations such as the UN would collude with government institutions and individuals to bring in items into the country disguised as government items. Among the smuggled items, Ofwono says included blood reagents and solar systems.

According to head of State House Anti-corruption unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, also under investigation are Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), airport security personnel and customs officials who are being questioned about the matter.

Earlier, there were reports that the issue involves the printing of money (over Shs 90bn), which was coming into the country. Uganda prints its money from Germany. The unverified reports indicated that some of the officials at the Central Bank wanted to fleece part of the money that was coming into the country. We could neither verify this claim.

SOURCE: The Observer

 

URA Distances Self From BoU Currency Saga

The currency printing and importation saga rocking Bank of Uganda (BoU) has sucked in Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). But Saturday morning URA distanced itself from the saga saying they did their job right leaving the rest to the central bank.

“When a privately chartered plane arrived in April and as normal practice for sensitive cargo customs facilitated clearance of the currency at the tarmac in presence of BOU officials, BOU security, aviation security, police and other security agencies," Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA acting Commissioner General, told journalists on Saturday morning.

Kateshumbwa is quoted by URN via The Independent Magazine saying the consignment was then loaded on BoU vehicles and taken to Kampala with heavy security escort.  He said the extra cargo, which belonged to other individuals, companies and organizations and these were cleared after paying taxes.

According to URA, each consignment had its individual airway bill. And that Customs was not party to the airline charter arrangements between BOU, the airline and the other owners of the goods.

“It is not the responsibility of Customs to concern itself in logistical arrangements of importers or exporters.” Kateshumbwa is quoted by PMLDaily, an online publisher. URA also maintains that in clearing the consignment in question, the Customs staff followed the procedures to the dot and can fully account for the cargo cleared.

URA has defended its integrity by providing the details of the information required by the investigators and the taxmen have stated that they are available to offer any clarification if required.

“URA should not be dragged into logistical contractual failures or mistakes of BOU and their service provider,” PmlDaily quotes a URA statement dispelling reports. “As per normal customs clearance procedure, this cargo was offloaded into the licensed bonds at the airport and subsequently the owners made customs declarations, paid applicable taxes and Customs physically verified each consignment to ascertain accuracy and consistency with the declaration and released the goods to the owners”.

We Are Being Investigated, Mutebile Confirms

The Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile has confirmed that State House Anti-Corruption Unit is investigating a matter concerning anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment.

The governor in a press statement said he himself invited the corruption fighting body upon realizing the anomaly. “On April 27, 2019, the Bank of Uganda (BOU) received a consignment. During the verification process, BoU staff reported an anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment.

Therefore, I requested the Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) of State House to investigate the matter. The ACU has started investigations and Bank of Uganda is fully co-operating with the process,” Mutebile said in a statement.

State House Anti Corruption Unit head, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, on her part, in a separate press statement said they are working with the Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Police. She confirmed that the investigation is being carried out following an invitation by central bank governor.

“The matter under investigation involves a recent procurement consignment. A number of senior personnel, customs and civil aviation authority personnel are being question,” the soldier said.

While both officials didn’t divulge details of the consignment, it has been widely reported in the media, following Nakalema’s unit raid on Bank of Uganda offices, that the scandal involves the central bank’s procurement and printing of currency notes and airlifting the money to Uganda.

The Independent via URN quote a Bank of Uganda officials saying the central bank was alarmed by the extra cargo aboard the chartered plane that was only meant to carry currency.

The plane had 25 pallets containing Ugandan currency but only 20 belonged to BoU. The pallets, according to the official were intact when they received them at BOU in Kampala but there was one problem – the non-authorized cargo on the plane.

By law the plane chartered to transport the currency notes must only carry the notes as ordered for printing and delivery.

Why Mutebile Preferred Nakalema Over IGG In BoU Currency Saga

On Thursday night online news outlets broke news of several arrests of Bank of Uganda officials who were linked to sneaking into the country billons of shillings which were illegally printed.

The reports published indicated that the woman at the center of arrests is none- other than Lt. Col. Edith Nakelema who leads State House Anti- Corruption Unit which was inaugurated last year by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

On Friday, whereas it turned out that the arrests were true, State House explained that the arrests clung on investigation related to five wood pellets cargo which was transported along with new Ugandan currency from Germany which breaches guidelines.

The procedure is that the money printed is inspected and quantity supervised by Bank of Uganda officials in higher ranks and then later ensure its safety by not allowing any other cargo on a chartered plane.

It emerged that as plane carrying money landed at Entebbe in April, five extra wood pellets had been found by customs and cleared.

But until today no one official at the airport knows the cargo’s whereabouts neither do they know the owners and what was contained inside these boxes.

It also emerged that well knowing it is unlawful to allow extra cargo on the plane, BoU officials who were on this plane destined for Uganda cleared the consignment.

Whatever the motive, security is determined to establish and the culprits. When the operation is successfully executed, many heads at BoU are likely to roll. Nakalema, on Friday afternoon clarified on the operation saying she kicked off investigation at the invitation of BoU Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile.

“The State House Anti-Corruption Unit acting under Article 99 (4) of the Constitution of Uganda in liaison with the Criminal Investigation Directorate of the Police acting under Article 120 (3) (a) and in conjunction with Bank of Uganda is carrying out a special investigation on a matter pertaining to the Bank’s procurement and supply chain activities,” Nakelema said in a statement.

She added, “This investigation is being carried out following an invitation by the Governor of the Bank of Uganda and in close cooperation with the Governor’s office.”

Usually in such rare scenarios, the Governor invites the Inspectorate of Government to intervene and investigate the matter.

But as to why Mr. Mutebile ditched IGG Irene Mulyagonja and opted for Nakalema is something that has been questioned mostly at a time when the IGG’s reputation and will to fight corruption has been queried.

Ms. Mulyagonja’s conduct in the previous Bank of Uganda inquiry left many poking holes particularly when she declined to investigate the officials named in the contested sale of seven commercial banks.

Mulyagonja was first to summon top administrators of the Central Bank, but how she later dropped the case left many answered questions. At some point Mulyagonja invited ISO to investigate MPs led by Hon Abdul Katuntu who chaired COSASE which handled Bank of Uganda probe.

She also claimed that these MPs were bribed by city businessman Rajiv Ruparelia. Her assertions exposed her person as conflicted.

To further question her readiness to fight graft was President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who on two occasions lambasted Ms. Mulyagonja by justifying why he created a parallel unit to watch over the IGG.

The Parallel unit is headed by Col. Nakalema. Museveni publically said Mulyagonja had failed to fight corruption and that her office had been infiltrated by corrupt elements.

Against that backdrop was petitioned filed against Ms. Mulyagonja over misuse of office. The petitioner invited Nakalema to investigate Mulyagonja.

It therefore remains plain that an Inspectorate of Government with such tainted image could be a ‘suitable candidate’ to handle the fresh BoU currency saga.

SOURCE: Trumpet News

Bank Of Uganda Officials Let Illegal Cargo On Currency Flight

An investigation by State House’s Anti-Corruption Unit led by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema reveals that midlevel Bank of Uganda officials let five extra wood pellets of cargo to be airlifted to Uganda illegally on a procured flight to fly central bank printed currency notes in April.

The investigations don’t reveal what were in the pellets but rumor has it that it could have been extra currency notes printed illegally in Germany were the flight also originated. The probe was sanctioned by the central bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile.

On Thursday, Nakalema with instructions of the President raided Bank of Uganda and arrested five directors who are linked to this scam. And by Friday morning, many top managers in the Central Bank had been lined up for interrogation.

A source in State House that wished to remain unnamed so as to speak freely told Trumpet News that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is immensely irked by the news of how a cargo was cleared by BoU officials who travelled to Uganda along with new currency from Germany.

As a routine BoU orders new notes which replace damaged ones that are taken out of circulation. On instructions, BoU officials with higher titles have to travel to Germany to inspect, supervise the quantity and protect the new currency until it arrives in Uganda at Entebbe Airport.

To avoid suspicion and mistrust, BoU charters a plane to transport this currency. On the plane there is no any other cargo allowed. However, security was dismayed to find out that five more wood pellets had been sneaked into the plane.

What rattled security more was the fact BoU officials had cleared the cargo but never disclosed details of ownership. TrumpetNews has learnt with authority that one of the wood pellets among the five belonged to an unidentified UN official.

SOURCE: Trumpet News

You Are In Breach Of Rules Of Procedure, Kadaga Tells Cosase Chair Munyagwa

In a lengthy letter, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, told the current chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) Hon Mubarak Munyagwa that he is breaching parliament’s Rules of Procedure in trying to probe Bank of Uganda afresh.

Kadaga, who has so far received two petitions to stop Munyagwa from wasting taxi payer’s money with a new probe, told Munyagwa that his committee has a lot of work to do other than redoing work which was completely done by the same committee under his predecessor Abdul Katuntu and awaits implementation of recommendations.

In this letter, Kadaga expressly told Munyagwa to refrain from further proceedings in relation to the probe until otherwise directed by the House. Munyagwa after assuming office Katuntu decided to reintroduce Bank of Uganda probe which was exhausted by his predecessor.

Katuntu made report and recommendations on full orders of the Speaker on reference to the Auditor General’s report which exposed Bank of Uganda as having illegally sold off/ closed 7 commercial banks including Crane Bank which belonged to city businessman Sudhir Ruparelia.

Kadaga wrote that under article 90(1) of the constitution, parliament is empowered to appoint committee’s necessary foe efficient discharge of its functions. She further stressed that it therefore goes without saying that committees are delegates of the house and as such are accountable to and indeed, carry out work on behalf of parliament.

She also quoted Articles 90(2) and 94(1) of the same constitution which empowers parliament with the Rules of Procedure of parliament, to prescribe the powers, composition and functions of the committees.

“It is this power that is exercised under rules 153, 154 and in particular instance 155 (1) (i) and 178 of the rules of procedure in creating and empowering COSASE”. Kadaga wrote.

She told Munyagwa that his committee draws its mandate from rule 178 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda which mandates COSASE to examine the reports and audited accounts of the Statutory Authorities , corporations and public enterprises and in context of their autonomy and efficiency , ascertain whether their operations are being managed in accordance with the required competence and where applicable in accordance with sound business principles and prudent commercial practices.

The speaker also lectured Munyagwa that the committee examines income and expenditure of any public corporation  and state enterprises or anybody or organization established by an act of parliament together with the balance sheet and statement  of profits and loss accounts which the auditor general may have been requested to prepare under the constitution or under the provisions of statutory orders regulating the financing of a particular corporation , enterprise or body and report of the auditor general on them.

“it is important to note that the work of Cosase as shown in 3 above and as stipulated under rule 178(3)emanates from reports of the auditor general in exercise of his/her constitutional mandate under article 163 of the constitution of the republic of Uganda.”

She added that “it is also very critical to note that the report of the Auditor General by virtue of rule 178(3) of the Rules of Procedure is first laid before the house before being referred to the committee for consideration.”

“It is evident that no other report of has been authored by the auditor general to parliament of Uganda in respect to the closure of commercial banks in Uganda by bank of Uganda to warrant an inquiry into the same committee. Similarly no authority of the house has been granted to freshly investigate the closure of commercial banks”.

Kadaga noted that “it is out of order to attempt to reconsider any specific questions upon which the house has come to a conclusion during the current session. It is evident that you are in bleach of rule 219”.

“I note that no motion was moved either by you as chairperson or by any other member to that effect. I therefore propose and guide that you refrain from proceeding in relation to this matter until otherwise directed by the house”.

Recently, Chairperson of COSASE Mubarak Munyagwa appointed a select subcommittee headed by Makindye East Member of Parliament (MP), Ibrahim Kasozi to probe BoU again especially over the Shs478 billion as that BoU claims it injected in Crane Bank limited (CBL) as liquidity support during its receivership that took place between October 20 2016 and January 25, 2017. BoU closed CBL due to undercapitalization.

Kadaga Orders Munyagwa To Stop Fresh Bank Of Uganda Probe

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) led by Kawempe South Member of Parliament Mubarak Munyagwa has no authority to freshly investigate the alleged irregular closure of seven commercial banks by Bank of Uganda and it should refrain from taking any move into the matter.

Kadaga’s order follows a number of petitions from concerned citizens asking her to stop Munyagwa from reopening the probe. One of the petitioners, Micheal Busingye said the probe would be a waste of time and tax payers’ money as an investigation was already concluded by Munyagwa’s predecessor Abdu Katuntu in February this year.

In a letter dated June 10, 2019, Kadaga told Munyagwa to refrain from further proceedings in relation to the probe until otherwise directed by the House.

“Under rule 178 (4) the committee, upon receipt of the Auditor General’s report, is required to consider and examine the recommendations of the Auditor General and thereafter under rule 178 (5) to lay the report of the committee on the table for purposes of debate by the House under clause (5) of article 163 of the constitution. Once the committee, as a delegate of the House, has tabled a report for debate, it has sufficiently discharged its burden and the report becomes the property of the House. Upon so doing if the report is adopted [like was the case in the matter of closure of commercial banks by Bank of Uganda] it becomes a report of the Parliament of Uganda. The committee then stands discharged in respect of any authority of the House on the subject matter of the report,” the Speaker stated.

“It is evident that no other report has been authored by the Auditor General to Parliament in respect to closure of commercial banks in Uganda by Bank of Uganda to warrant an inquiry into the same by the committee. Similarly, no authority of the House has been granted to freshly investigate the closure of the commercial banks.”

She also advised Munyagwa that since the recommendations were adopted, it was incumbent upon the Government to respond by way of a Treasury Memorandum, which has not yet been done.

Since the Katuntu report was passed, some BoU officials have been working hard on undoing the ‘guilt’ created by their sloppy appearance before Katuntu’s chaired Cosase which showed the world how incompetent BoU managers were, and how carelessly they Crane Bank and six other banks.

SOURCE: Watchdog Uganda

Nakalema Anti-Corruption Team Raids Bank of Uganda

State House Anti-Corruption Unit led by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema raided Bank of Uganda and arrested five high ranking officers in an ongoing crack on corruption in government agencies, Trumpet News reports.

Quoting security sources, the news website reports that the move to arrest the five was informed by whistleblower who informed the unit about loss of huge monies getting lost at Entebbe International Airport upon arrival from German where the said cash had been printed. Uganda’s currency, the shilling is printed in German.

Sources reveal that about two months ago, a team from Bank of Uganda was dispatched to travel to German aboard a chartered airplane to ferry the printed cash to Uganda and upon reaching German, the Uganda team that was led by a one Dr. Barenzi who is the deputy director in charge of operations. Dr. Barenzi represented Charles Malinga Akol, BoU’s Executive Director Operations who was on leave to ferry the money.

Trumpet News, quoting another local online news website Eagle Online reports that upon getting the German, Dr. Barenzi and another officer allegedly printed money to a tune of Shs90 billion in excesses and some of the said Shs90 billion was used for purchasing goods which were as well loaded into the chartered plane.

However, upon landing at Entebbe International Airport where they were received by another team from BoU and the security team, the two officials ferried the pirates that contained the balance of the Shs90 billion into their own vehicles and drove to BoU.

Nevertheless, what is perturbing investigators is the fact that between Entebbe and Kampala, the balance of extra Shs90 billion never reached the coffers of BoU.

Sources say that what could have brought incident to light was the insistence by officials from Uganda Revenue Authority based at Entebbe International Airport who also insisted on verifying the bill of lading to verify whether the extra Shs90 billion and bought items had been had been cleared by the Germans before the airplane departed for Entebbe.

Upon receiving the complaint from URA, BoU is said to have initiated its internal investigations on how the flight from German to Entebbe was flown and who was aboard, the exact amount cleared by the printing firm and other items. As the investigation continued, it was revealed that extra cash had been printed and was inserted on to the plane after the billing of lading had been cleared by the agents and the plane authority.

However, according to interrogators, the airplane authority came out first and apologised acknowledging that they had been duped by the two officials to load extra cash and items despite the clearance from the German authorities.

However, it is at this time that Director Malinga who had been on leave got involved because his name had been dragged in, accordingly, Mr. Malinga is said to have informed the Governor Emmanuel Mutebile about the incident and thereafter, the two agreed to brief the President and State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

Upon briefing the president, it is said he was furious about the incident and immediately directed that Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema and head of Criminal Investigation Department, Assistant Inspector of Police Grace Akullo investigate deeper to find out where the said balance of the Shs90 billion is and also established the motive by the culprits.

SOURCE” Trumpet News

Parliament Speaker Blocks New Munyagwa Inspired BoU Inquiry

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has blocked a new request for fresh investigations into irregularities at Bank of Uganda (BoU) and described the move by MPs on the House committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) as misguided and a waste of time, Daily Monitor reported Monday.

Ms Kadaga, who spoke to Daily Monitor through her press secretary Sam Obbo, also wondered why Cosase members would waste time re-investigating BoU on the sale of seven commercial banks yet Parliament already pronounced itself on resolutions of the Abdul Katuntu committee report.

The previous Committee chaired by Mr Katuntu investigated BoU for three months and presented their findings to parliament.

However, when Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa took over the committee leadership, he instituted a sub-committee chaired by Ibrahim Kasozi to re-investigate the same matters on allegations that there were outstanding issues.

Ms Kadaga wondered why Cosase didn’t seek her permission as the head of the institution before reopening investigations into matters which were concluded.

“What they (Cosase members) are doing is wrong. There is no need to duplicate work and in any case, we are still waiting for response from the executive about actions taken on Parliament resolutions. I am going to write to Cosase chairperson and ask him to halt the unnecessary probe,” the Speaker is quoted by Mr Obbo.

Daily Monitor has learnt that Ms Kadaga, who had received at least three petitions requesting her to stop current Cosase chairperson and members from wasting public resources on opening up a new probe into a matter the House had pronounced itself on.

The decision to probe BoU afresh came after the Office of the Auditor General rejected late accountability documents from Bank of Uganda officials.

The deputy Governor of BoU, Dr Louis Kasekende, had written to Mr John Muwanga, the Auditor General submitting boxes containing accountability documents on Shs478b BoU officials injected in Crane Bank before it was sold to dfcu at Shs200b. Mr Muwanga rejected the documents and advised BoU to seek permission from Parliament.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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