By Our Reporter
Kampala: Officials at the Bank of Uganda (BoU) are living on tenterhooks and braving sleepless nights after the Auditor General ordering an audit into the excess currency saga.
Bank of Uganda has been grappling with a scandal in which some of its senior officials allegedly smuggled into Uganda excess bank notes to the tune of Shs9Bn, although they (BoU) refuted the allegations. Although the police said they were conducting investigations into allegations that excess money had been printed and smuggled into the country aboard a plane chartered by BoU, the Central Bank’s officials and Media Centre boss Ofwono Opondo refuted the allegations, stating that actually what was found on the plane was cargo for various individuals and organisations in Uganda.
However, now the Auditor General John F.S. Muwanga is requesting senior managers at BoU to have an inception meeting with the team on August 6th, 2019, so as to set out modalities for conducting the audit.
The Director Forensics at Auditor General’s Office James Bantu has since commissioned an audit in regards to the Bank of Uganda extra cargo that was loaded on a chartered Plane in April this year.
It is alleged that around March 1st and April 27th, 2019 between Uganda, Belgium and France and Entebbe International Airport, BoU officials allowed the inclusion of unauthorized cargo on a plane chartered by the Central bank.
The officials had hired the UK based aircraft through a global transport and logistics company Kuehne + Nagel International to deliver printed material for BoU which had been printed from France. The chartered Plane however ended up in Liege Airport, Belgium before landing at Entebbe International Airport on April 27th.
This however caused suspicion on how a chartered plane would go to Belgium where the Central Bank had no business.
Upon landing at the Entebbe, it is alleged that on the plane there was printed currency belonging to private individuals, hence the suspicion.
In his letter to the Governor Bank of Uganda, Bantu says an audit will be conducted in regards to ‘printed material’ transported on April 27th, 2019 following the July, 18th 2019 letter from the Criminal Investigations Department Director.
Bantu’s letter reads in part thus; “The purpose of this letter therefore is to inform you that pursuant to Article 163 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended and sections 13 and 22 of the National Audit Act, 2008, the Auditor General has commissioned an audit in regards to the above subject matter…”
Bantu adds that the said assignment will be undertaken by his staff Martin Wamboza, the Principal Auditor and Jasper Oketa the Auditor.
The team will be supervised by Dr Andrew T. Nsamba, Senior Principal Auditor and Anthony Kimuli, the Assistant Director of Audit.
He adds that “In the event that circumstances warrant a change in the team composition, this will be communicated to you accordingly.”
It should be noted that the saga started on May 3rd, 2019, when BoU Governor Prof. Emmanuel Mutebile wrote to the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, asking her to investigate 13 boxes of unauthorized printed material that had been carried on a BoU chartered plane.
Nakalema and her team stormed BoU offices and confiscated some materials. A few days later three officials of BoU were arrested and have since been charged in the Anti-Corruption Court as investigations continue.
They are; Currency Director, Charles Malinga Akol, Francis Kakeeto, the Assistant Director Mbale Currency Centre and Fred Wanyama Vito, the BoU Verification Officer.
On Friday, the trio appeared in court presided by Grade one Magistrate Albert Asiimwe and demanded that their phones which were confiscated upon their arrest should be returned to them. The group suspects who will return to court on August 28th, 2019 have since been interdicted to allow a smooth flow of investigations into the multibillion scandal.