The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has this week come under fire after media reports indicated that they had disregarded investigations into allegations of money laundering by former Bank of Uganda Executive Director (Supervision), Justine Bagyenda.
FIA boss Sydney Asubo has come out to defend the institution, saying the money laundering investigations take time.
Asubo’s assurances come at a time a youth activists’ group, Youth Power Research Uganda had written to the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda over FIA’s “reluctance to investigate the matter despite having been furnished with evidence from a whistle blower.”
“To months after petitioning, there is no single draft report made casting fear among anti-corruption crusaders to think that Ms Asubo is no longer competent for the job,” the activists wrote in their letter copied to President Yoweri Museveni and Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Asubo called for patience, saying money laundering investigations take time. “They (youth activists) seem to suggest that FIA is not showing results just two months after we commenced investigations. Anyone worth their name would know that a money laundering investigation cannot be completed in that timeframe,” the FIA boss was quoted by a leading daily newspaper.
FIA is mandated to monitor, investigate and prevent money laundering.
In March this year, Bagyenda’s account details indicating she had over Shs19 billion in local banks leaked, prompting Barclays Bank and Diamond Trust Bank to apologise for the breach of customer confidence. Whistle blowers used these account details to accuse Bagyenda of money laundering in a bid to conceal her wealth that was not commensurate with her earnings.
The youth activists in their letter commended Speaker Rebecca Kadaga for directing the Auditor General to carry out an audit into the operations of Bank of Uganda in regard to closure and sale of several commercial banks. BoU Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende had tried to block the probe citing sub judice as the matter of one of the banks in question, Crane Bank was before court.
The youth activists said FIA should expedite the investigations into Bagyenda’s case to build confidence among investors which will in turn lead relieving the joblessness burden among youth.