Friday, August 10, 2018

Bank of Under Mattress, Bank of Mayuuni Plantation Still Open For Business!

Just in case you didn’t know this, Bank of Under Mattress, Bank of Inside Toilet Cistern, Bank of Under Floor Board and Bank of Mayuuni Plantation, were never closed down by Bank of Uganda. They are still open for business and are set to thrive even further especially after comments made by Grace Atwongyeire, Principal Legal Officer at Directorate for Ethics and Integrity, at Hotel Africana a couple of weeks ago.

Bank of Under Mattress

Atwongyyeire told us that government has embarked on a process of drafting a law that enables it to recover properties or assets by people who are unable to explain the source of their wealth.

The 'Brown Envelope'

Upon my return to Uganda from the UK in the late 90s, I was naïve and unconscious as to the way Uganda worked in that I hadn’t heard of the term ‘brown envelope’. Freelancing as a journalist, I got a call from Lawyer to meet him at Sheraton Hotel. Nestled in the lush leather seats, he pulls his seat closer to me, looks round to make certain that no one is listening before spilling it all. “TB, my client is a respectable family man with a good standing in the community. Recently, he did something that was wrong and would bring shame to him, his wife and children. He also feels you have been given the information of what he did by his enemies and he kindly, asks you not to splash it in the papers.”

Was Lawyers Client A Naughty Boy?

Basically Client, and in a moment of madness had stopped his car near Radio Uganda and picked up Call Girl. As Call Girl clambered into the ride, a car came up, slowed down and somebody pointed a wagging finger at him.

Days later and back at Sheraton, I assured him that Client had no need to worry. As we concluded business and I got up to leave, Lawyer tapped my shoulder saying: “TB, you’ve dropped an envelope in your seat.”

Looking round, there was indeed an envelope in the seat. It wasn’t there when I sat down and for certain, I didn’t have one on me when I turned up for the meet. However, Lawyer insisted it was my envelope. I insisted back that it wasn’t mine. Eventually it dawned on him that I knew nothing about brown envelopes that he simply thrust it in my hand and said: “Its for you. Client says thank you.”

Incidentally, the term ‘brown envelope’ was first coined in 1994 the after a “cash-for-questions-affair” scandal UKs House of Commons. The Guardian newspaper alleged that then owner of Harrods department store, Mohammed Al Fayed, had paid an MP to ask a question using a brown coloured envelope for the transaction. Brown envelopes are not just a media affair. In politics, business and day-to-day transactions, they are the way of life and given out to pay off whoever there is to pay.

Mohammed Al Fayed When He Still Owned Harrods

The brown envelope that Lawyer gave me, if I had received it after Atwongyyeire’s bill had been passed, of course it would be money that would be not bankable – well not in the high street banks like Standard Chartered, Centenary Rural, Barclays and others. What if he and others decided to go poking through my accounts and found money that I was not able to explain?

Bank of Under Floor Board

Like was said at the start, this is where Bank of Under Mattress, Bank of Under Floor Board, and Bank of Mayuuni Plantation come into play for out there, there are many people that if Atwongyeire were to ask how they accumulated their wealth, it would be a tall order. Remember the lady who was under investigation for selling UBC land and what she said – something along the lines of selling goats to amass the billions she has. If only she had banked with the very discreet Bank of Under Mattress, Bank of Inside Toilet Cistern and Bank of Mayuuni Plantation. 


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