Concerned Citizen Petitions Attorney General Over Absence of Governor, Board at Central Bank

A concerned citizen petitioned the Attorney General to remind President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to appoint a substantive governor of the Bank of Uganda-BOU. Through his lawyers of Nalukoola Advocates and Solicitors, Hajji Yunus Ntale, says that reminds the state that the Governor’s office has, for the last 12 months, been occupied by Michael Atingi-Ego ‘in acting capacity’. 

Atingi-Ego took over in an acting capacity following the demise of the late governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile. In his petition that is copied to the BoU legal department and ‘received’ at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs on Tuesday, Ntale notes that “the delay or refusal to appoint the governor violates the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, which provides for the constitution of the BOU Board”. 

“161(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended provides to the effect that the authority of the Central Bank of Uganda is vested in a board which consists of Governor, Deputy Governor and not more than five other members,” the letter reads. Counsel Luyimbazi Nalukoola from Nalukoola Advocates and Solicitors also notes that three members of the BoU board lack valid contracts, which is also a violation of the law. 

Those whose contracts expired in November 2022 are Judy Obitre Gama, James Kahoza, and Dr. William Kalema. There were appointed in 2012 and their fiver-year terms were renewed in 2018. “It is a Constitutional Commandment that the Governor, the Deputy Governor, and all other members of the board who are appointed by the President of the Republic of Uganda and approved by the Parliament hold office for a term of five years but is eligible for re-appointment,” the petition reads.

According to the 1995 Constitution, The Governor, the Deputy Governor, and all other members of the Board shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament; and “(b) hold office for a term of five years but shall be eligible for re-appointment.” The law does not state the number of times a member may be re-appointed, but the letter states that the three have not been re-appointed since the expiry of their second terms. 

Asked for the response from the Officer of the Attorney General, the Public Relations Officer, Simon Peter Jamba said, “there is nothing we can comment about that.” Nalukoola says should they not hear from the government lawyer, they will assume nothing has been done. 

“We have instructions to demand as we hereby do that you remind the President of the Republic of Uganda to appoint; a) Substantive Governor of Bank of Uganda. b) Three (3) new members of the Board of Directors of Bank of Uganda to occupy the vacant positions within 21 days from the date of receipt thereof, short of which we have instructions to institute legal proceedings against the government of Uganda.” 

He adds that the fear is that there could be decisions that are being made with respect to the mandate of BOU, yet there is no valid board to take such decisions. He says if such is discovered, there might even be further legal action. 

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