Finally, conflicted city lawyer Timothy Masembe was on Tuesday grilled by MPs sitting on COSASE who sought a detailed explanation on what role he played in controversial sale of Crane Bank to DFCU.
Masembe of MMAKS, it is understood, pocked Shs 914, 272,722 for legal advice during Crane Bank intervention, resolution and advice on the sale of the Bank’s assets and assumption of liabilities to DFCU by the Central Bank.
Masembe previously represented Sudhir Ruparelia, the former owner of Crane Bank which was projected as insolvent resulting into closure.
It however, turned out that Crane Bank was sold out in bad faith by a few officials in the Central Bank.
It is Crane Bank’s fraudulent sale that has unearthed and exposed conspiracies orchestrated by Masembe, DFCU and Bank of Uganda.
While making his presentation, Masembe displayed documents from the Central Bank which were neither signed nor dated just like what DFCU did while appearing before the same committee last week.
COSASE trashed the documents.
Shs 4 billion
COSASE has established that Timothy Masembe and his MMAKS Advocates pocketed tax payers’ money amounting to shs4.2bn in the sale of Crane Bank without any documentation or receipts.
Masembe’s MMAKS Advocates were paid Shs914, 272,722 for legal advice during CBL intervention, resolution and advice on the sale of CBL assets and assumption of liabilities.
The firm would further be paid extra Shs3 billion as 5% commission monies recovered from CBL shareholders.
While meeting COSASE, MPs asked for records or minutes from the meetings between MMAKS Advocates and Bank of Uganda which culminated to disbursement of such monies.
However, Masembe could not avail any minutes or documents regarding the payments saying that “lawyers don’t take minutes of meetings and in any case, the minutes should have been recorded by the Bank of Uganda.”
“How can shs4.2bn of tax payers’ money be given for legal advise without any minutes? This is ridiculous,” MP Odonga Otto said.
COSASE Chair Abdu Katuntu also found it strange for a public institution to advance massive payments to a private law firm without any minutes for reference.
“We need minutes of such meetings with the Central Bank that show the kind of legal opinion that you gave to the Central Bank. As a public institution, how does one say this was a proper payment?” Katuntu said.
Neither Bank of Uganda nor Masembe have failed to produce documents showing their terms of reference in offering legal opinion in the sale of Crane Bank.