The Outgoing Chairperson of the committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), Abdu Katuntu has come out to defend the committee report on closure of seven commercial banks following criticism by some legislators and several members of the public.
During the debate on Tuesday, some legislators noted that the committee recommendations fell short of the expectations of the public. Critics of the report also said the tone of the report was completely the opposite of the tone used by the COSASE committee during the hearings.
Rubanda Woman MP, Prosy Akampurira noted that it is so absurd that the committee proceedings and the recommendations don’t tally.
“We were all eager and wanted all along to receive this committee report; this report seems sugar quoted and I hope members were not sugar quoted,” Akampurira said.
However in response, Katuntu noted that members should understand that the committee was working according to the terms of reference that were given by the House, despite having being under tough conditions.
“We were working under tough conditions, we reviewed over 1,000 documents and we had only four days to have a report written and produced,” Katuntu said.
He added, “We did our best under very difficult circumstances; we also had a serious debate of whether we name the culprits or not. We didn’t intend to hide the names but we kept asking ourselves whether the report would pass the legal test putting in mind the case between the Attorney General Vs Fox Odoi.”
“I have together with colleagues been conscious of the dignity of this report and if you don’t keep this in mind, the report might be challenged. Will this report pass the legal test, that is what informed our decision. If you think it will pass the legal test, go ahead,” Katuntu said.
Katuntu added that it would be difficult to implicate some individuals given that officials from BOU testified that there were no minutes during their meetings. This, according to Katuntu, makes it hard for the committee to know who to name or not.
“How do you name people when they don’t remember who attended meetings? The only names we have are the Bank Supervision head, Justice Bagyenda and Benedict Ssekabira and those are the only two whom we could identify during the proceedings.”
The former COSASE Chairperson called on members to understand that the committee report isn’t a judgment because they aren’t a court of law.
“This is a probe meaning, bringing facts on table; this isn’t a court of law where we are going to write and convict people,” he said.
He added that the reason why the committee did not investigate why the banks were closed was because it wasn’t part of their terms of reference.
The House will Wednesday continue to debate the report and the recommendations will be deliberated on and adopted one at a time.