By Watchdog reporter
Governor Emmanuel Mutebile rarely gives interviews, especially to local press unless there is something really itching him.
The last time Mutebile gave an interview to a local daily was when he was complaining about being under pressure to print money ahead of the 2016 elections. Even when the economy tumbles, Mr Mutebile rarely sees it befitting to brief Ugandans about what is going on.
On Tuesday, August 01, 2017 was quite different.
The governor gave an interview to Daily Monitor, where he opened up about the closure of Crane Bank, almost a year since it was closed.
The interview comes at the time businessman Sudhir Ruparelia lawyers have less than a day to appear in court to file their defence in relation to the case Bank of Uganda filed against one of the former owners of the defunct Crane Bank which the central bank closed in 2016.
A lot of shocking revelations have been coming out ever since Bank of Uganda moved to drag property mogul Sudhir and his Meera Investments to court for allegedly siphoning shs400 billion from the now defunct bank.
The move sparked a public outcry many saying the Central Bank officials especially Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile should be prosecuted and dragged to Luzira Prison for allegedly mismanaging Crane Bank, as well as other banks.
During an interview with the Daily Monitor newspaper, a day before Sudhir’s defence, Mr Mutebile has sought to exonerate himself from the mess the Central bank and the financial market finds itself.
The Governor singled out BoU Executive Director in charge of supervision Justine Bagyenda, saying it was her in charge of supervision of commercial banks, when told that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a statement to the effect that the mess could have been avoided had the central Bank been more vigilant.
The Governor defended the Central Bank saying that it was not BoU as a whole to be vigilant but the supervisors of commercial banks were supposed to be citing that the bank has an executive director in charge of supervision who was supposed to be in full charge of the whole scenario.
“IMF should have said if the supervisors of the commercial banks were more vigilant. Who was doing the work of supervision? Okay it was Bank of Uganda staff but not the entire BoU. BoU has an executive director in charge of supervision,” said Mutebile.
When asked if he was trying to pass the blame to Bagyenda, Mutebile admitted to be responsible for what went wrong but denying to be criminally culpable adding that whoever needs to know the person who is criminally culpable for the muddle, should ask the executive director for supervision.
“I am responsible for what went wrong but I am not criminally culpable. If anyone wishes to know someone criminally culpable in this muddle should ask the executive director for supervision,” he stated.
Meanwhile, reports indicate that Bank of Uganda (BOU) has failed to furnish Sudhir’s lawyers with 26 documents they requested as they prepared for their defence taking place Wednesday August 2. Watchdog Uganda website understands that BOU’s lawyers could only avail a single document listed as ‘No.24.’
Sudhir’s lawyers, Kampala Associated Advocates wrote to the commercial division of the High Court complaining about BoU failure to give them the requested documents.
Parliament has however already asked Bank of Uganda officials to appear before them to answer queries over the central bank’s performance over the years including seeing off the closure of other banks including Global Trust, National Bank of Commerce, among others.
The governor however told the newspaper interview that he will not appear before Parliament.