By our reporter
Uganda Police detectives are investigating Shs400 billion that the Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials transferred and stored in BoU Masaka Currency Centre in a room without CCTV cameras, meaning the money could be stolen without tracing it.
The huge money is said to have been transferred to Masaka on June 14, 2019, the time when investigators started probing BoU and other officials over the anomaly in the consignment of the 20 pallets packed with Uganda Shillings notes that were delivered at Entebbe International Airport by BoU chartered plane on April 26, even though, extra 5 pallets were onboard and their whereabouts is unknown.
A week ago, BoU Executive Director Operations Charles Malinga Akol was charged and released from the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo on a cash bail of Shs40 million as part of the inquiry into the currency consignment scandal. Francis Kakeeto, a branch manager at Mbale and Fred Wanyama from the same branch were charged with abuse of office and in alternative corruption which they have both denied before magistrate Herbert Asiimwe. They were also released on Cash Bail of Shs 30 million and Shs25 million respectively.
Prosecution alleged that on April 26, 2019 between France, Belgium and Entebbe airport, the duo while on assignment by their employer to carry out a pre-shipment inspection of printed materials in France, in abuse of the authority to offices did an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of their employer and allowed the inclusion of unauthorised case on a cargo plane fully chartered by BoU.
And in the alternative, it’s alleged that they failed to refute and report the inclusion of unauthorised cargo on a plane fully chartered by BoU.
Meanwhile deputy governor, Dr. Louis Kasekende, insists there was no extra currency printed in Germany other than that approved by his boss Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.
Dr. Kasekende made the remarks on Thursday in Masaka during the Bank of Uganda Townhall Meeting held to receive feedback from the public and discuss ways of improving the services that the institution renders to the country.
“…many of you have asked for clarification from the Bank of Uganda on the ongoing investigations by the Uganda Police and sister investigative agencies regarding the recent shipment of Uganda currency consignment. Unfortunately, the matter has progressed to court and any detailed discussion on the specific merits of the issue might be construed to be contempt of court processes…Let me also reiterate Governor Mutebile’s message, that there was no extra currency printed outside the amounts that he approved through the requisite processes,” he said.
He said currency printing like many of the work processes in BoU, is, “subject to very rigorous processes with inbuilt controls for checks and balances.” He said deliberate checks at various levels including the Currency Policy Committee headed by Mutebile himself, coupled with a strong and independent audit function, have overtime been robust enough to maintain the integrity of our currency operations.
He re-affirmed BoU’s commitment to cooperate with all arms of the state to fully investigate any breach of its operating procedures, either by the staff or procured partners. “The outcomes of these investigations shall be used to re-assess and further buttress our processes whose unquestionable integrity is central to the successful pursuit of BOU’s core mandate.
Investigators are trying to establish whether the extra money was printed without the knowledge of the top leaders of the bank. It is alleged about Shs190 billion was illegally printed and is hidden somewhere in the country.
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