Bank of Uganda seizes Libyan shares in Tropical Bank


UGANDA (eTN) – No sooner had the formal announcement been made that Uganda would fully comply with the UN resolution to freeze the assets of Libya’s faltering dictator Gadaffi et al, did the Bank of Uganda react and seize the Libyan shareholding in Tropical Bank.

Already compelled two weeks ago to issue public statements that “the bank is safe” to avoid a run on it, the government’s acceptance of the UN resolution reportedly brought relief to the halls of Uganda’s central bank as it finally could step in to restore consumer confidence in the bank by direct intervention.

The Libyan Foreign Bank owned nearly 100 percent of the shares in Tropical Bank, previously known as Tropical Africa Bank, and as was customary during Gadaffi’s heydays, what was Libya’s was his for all practical purposes. The Bank of Uganda went a step further and relieved all Libyan appointees and nationals in management of their positions and appointed bankers to take over the day-to-day running of Tropical Bank with immediate effect.

This now sets the stage for a much wider scenario to unfold in the coming days, as the Laico Lake Victoria Hotel, Uganda Telecom, the National Housing Corporation, and a number of other investments are also in the cross hairs of the respective regulators and government oversight agencies for similar action. It was learned late Friday that the Libyan board members – also subject to the UN freeze order – and Libyan-appointed management staff are said to be in a state of panic following the events at Tropical Bank yesterday.