Transactions on the bank accounts of St Lawrence Schools and Colleges have been paralysed because the institutions’ founder Lawrence Mukiibi, who died abruptly on Sunday, was the only principal signatory, officials and his family confirmed yesterday.
Mukiibi, 69, is to be buried on Friday.
According to Mr Mike Sebalu, the chairman of St Lawrence Schools and Colleges, the board of trustees is to hold an emergency meeting to pass a resolution in fulfillment of legal requirements to introduce a new main signatory.
It is unclear how long the elaborate bureaucratic process – including a board sitting and filing of its certified resolutions alongside death certificate with the Registrar of Companies will take to conclude to get a replacement principal signatory.
“The way banks operate is that when a person dies, they do not take it verbally that the person has died,” he said yesterday, “He (Mukiibi) was the main signatory although there were other signatories and there are procedures to regularise this.”
Financial institution and business partners can only honour payments, such as cheques or cash withdrawal orders, if signed by, among others, a principal signatory.
Since Mukiibi’s passing on, it has meant that no money can be withdrawn from the institutions’ accounts to, among other things, run them and pay suppliers in a week in which schools opened for second term. However, deposits can be made.
A four-member team of uniformed Centenary Bank employees, which holds the schools’ main account, yesterday afternoon visited Mukiibi’s home in Kitemu, Wakiso District, to discuss with his family and officials how to resolve the impasse.
Ms Maria Justine Tulina, the head of finance for the family-owned business, said yesterday that they have been unable to transact with the banks since her father was the principal signatory to all the accounts.
“There are cheques he was supposed to sign, but he died before doing that. We have been holding meetings since morning and I am now going to write the cheques because the banks want them right now,” she said.
Incidentally, the last official duty Mukiibi performed before passing on was signing off the budgets of the institutions.
Under the Companies Act, 1961, certified copies of a resolution have to be filed with the Registrar of Companies at Uganda Registrations Services Bureau, in a case such as the death of a principal signatory, before a replacement principal signatory can get legal powers to transact financial matters.
Officials, however, said there is no disruption to school operations. Ms Irene Mutebi, a head teacher London College which is one of Mukiibi’s eight schools, said they re-opened for the second term normally and administration remains unaffected by financial issues.
All heads of St Lawrence Schools and Colleges have been instructed to keep away from the burial programmes so as not to disrupt school activities and body of the founder will instead be taken to the schools for the students to view, board chairman Sebalu said.
Mukiibi is being mourned nationally as a pillar in transforming private education in the country through founding an octad of star secondary schools and a university, and tributes for him yesterday continued to stream from his alumni – who eulogise him as a father figure – and Uganda’s elite political class.
First Lady and Education minister Janet Museveni described him as a “re-known career educationist” whose educational investment, she noted in a statement issued on Monday, has been “pivotal in changing the image of educational standards for the country and the East African region as whole”.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Sports and on my own behalf,” Ms Museveni wrote, “I take this opportunity to convey our most heartfelt condolences to you all and to ask the Lord, the ever present comforter in times of trouble, to comfort you at this difficult time. Uganda will always take pride in having had such a great son and humble servant of the people and we will truly miss him.”
Mukiibi was a member of the executive committee of private schools and in that capacity helped mobilise other private institutions to participate in government’s educational programmes.
He personally had a close working relationship with the First Lady and during the just-ended holiday, allowed her to use, at no cost, one of his schools for a week to host head teachers from countrywide.
Mukiibi, the government said, is a pioneer example of a good manager of private schools who inspired many academics to start their own educational institutions.