More than two decades following the closure of Greenland Bank, the ghost of its founder, Dr Suleiman Kiggundu continues to torment Bank of Uganda. The Central Bank’s Chief, Nnyonyintono Kikonyogo, who presided over the closure and dubious sale of the bank and sold its loans, properties as well as those of its sister companies, has since passed on, followed by his successor, Prof Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile.
While Mutebile passed on years after Kikonyogo had passed on, he would on resumption of the BOU top job continue with the liquidation of Greenland bank after its closure, more than two decades. And though Kiggundu went way flesh earlier than both Kikonyogo and Mutebile, his ghost since rose through the Auditor General, John Muwanga who, in 2018 issued a report to the effect that the closure of his bank and whatever happened thereafter were mired by fraud.
One of the fraudulent actions which would later be confirmed by the then Parliament’s Abdu Katuntu-led COSASEC’s committee own inquiry, was the presentation of what seems to be a fake company to buy the loans of Greenland. That company was styled by its fronters as Nile Rovers Acquisition Company.
Both the Auditor General plus Parliament and the country at large were left in total shock after discovering how BOU had given away the Greenland loans at a ninety three percent discounted price. On top of selling off the Greenland buildings which were holding the bank’s branches, BOU went for all the buildings and assets of Greenland’s sister companies and sold them off at merely a song.
While they were selling off the properties and as they continued to endlessly liquidate the ill-fated bank, BOU refused to offer any accountability about how much they had exactly realized from the sale of the sold properties. Armed with the findings of the Auditor General and Cosase report, detailing all the fraud involved in these affairs, thirty-one directors of Greenland moved to Commercial Court’s chief, Justice Stephen Mubiru to complain.
Characteristic of how BOU’s lawyers of MMAKS do their things, they immediately filed an application to have the case summarily dismissed. The intention here is clear to figure out. The lawyers whose main principals are Timothy Kanyerezi Masembe, Apollo Makubuya and Moses Adriko, among others, would argue how the case was outdated. They went on to disparage the lawsuit as a regurgitation of the earlier complaints which had been handled and dismissed by court.
And also, that the people behind the case and much as they are directors of the bank, are wrong parties incapable of questioning what BOU did and the suspicious steps it took. The directors compellingly answered back. They argued fraud is not affected by the Limitation Act which requires a complainant to bring a case within a period of six years following its commission.
They educated the lawyers of MMAKS how the case is an exception to the norm since the Limitation Act in the case began to apply to them in 2021 with the discovery of the fraud complained of by the Auditor General. They termed the quest by BOU to have the case dismissed without according it hearing, a ploy to hide the defendant`s transgressions.
They explained such transgressions were committed by BOU during the closure of Greenland and its liquidation process. Consequently, the directors opined BOU’s intention in asking for the summary dismissal of their case was to avoid paying heavily for its wrongdoings. They took issue with the endless liquidation of Greenland, calling it a trick to stop anyone from asking for accountability from BOU.
Incorruptible, bold and sharp as he is, Justice was yesterday, able to discern the intention of BOU and ruled how he couldn’t dismiss the case summarily. He said he would go ahead and delve into an investigation to unlock what exactly went on during the sale and liquidation of Greenland bank. He noted the allegations being put across by the directors of Greenland are quite grave to be swept under the carpet as the lawyers of BOU wish.
He, accordingly, announced the investigation will go on to its logical conclusion and the court will rule out one or the other, after listening to both sides to the dispute and after looking at what the law dictates. The ruling has been surely a defeat of injustice at the hands of justice and the rule law. The case must go to the full length without attempts to stop the wheels of justice on the way. So, we hold. Finally, we hold, justice is too sweet to be sacrificed at the altar of procedure rather than substance.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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