Kampala, March 6:
by Mark Keith Muhumuza, Kampala.
Uganda’s Tropical Bank was today, Tuesday, officially returned by Uganda’s central bank, the Bank of . . .[restrict]Uganda, to the Libyan Foreign Bank.
“Bank of Uganda is glad to announce the return of Tropical Bank to the majority shareholder, the Libyan Foreign Bank,” said Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Governor of the Bank of Uganda. “The interim board and senior management team, which were appointed by Bank of Uganda on 25th March 2011, have today been relieved of their responsibilities,” he added.
On 25 March, 2011 the Bank of Uganda took over the operation of Tropical Bank following UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 which required a freeze on assets owned by the Libyan government and associated bodies.
Mutebile pointed out that measures to take over the operations of the Libyan-owned bank had been to “make sure that it continued to operate normally as a commercial bank”.
The move was prompted by the UN resolution on 16 December ending sanctions on Libyan assets. The National Transitional Council is also fully recognised by the Uganda government, thus enabling the unfreezing of various Libyan assets in the country.
The bank was first established in 1973 as the Libyan Arab Ugandan bank for Foreign Trade & Development. The name was changed to Tropical Africa Bank in 1994, and in 2006 to Tropical Bank. It is 99.7 percent owned by the Libyan Foreign Bank.
The Bank of Uganda also carried out an audit of Tropical Bank from the period 25 March 2011 to 30 January 2012 with the aim of establishing its financial status before returning it to the Libyan Foreign Bank.
“The Bank of Uganda assures the public that Tropical Bank is in sound financial condition and is well positioned to continue its operations normally,” Mutebile stated.
The chairman of the board of directors of Tropical Bank, Gerald Ssendaula, congratulated the interim management team for keeping the bank running and profitable.
The Bank’s reinstated managing director, Osama El-Sarraj, said he was relieved to be back and applauded Bank of Uganda for its role in keeping the bank operational.
“We are ready to move forward according to our shareholders who have also proposed to increase the bank’s share capital,” said El-Sarraj.
Tropical Bank is the 11th largest bank in Uganda with an asset base of Ugx250bn ($100.9m) and eleven branches in the country. The Uganda Government has 0.3 percent ownership in Tropical Bank.
Other Libyan assets in Uganda include Uganda Telecom (69-percent Libyan owned), National Housing and Construction (49 percent), Tamoil East Africa, Oil Libya and Laico Lake Victoria Hotel.