By Andrew Visper
Before the nation comes to terms with the over Shs90Bn excess money that was allegedly printed by officials of Bank of Uganda, the Uganda police have discovered that Central bank bosses are hoarding another Shs400 billion at the Masaka currency centre”
The Uganda Police 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, which implies that the money could be stolen or stashed there by BoU officials without tracing it.
The money is said to have been transferred to Masaka on June 14, 2019, at the time when investigators started probing BoU officials and city tycoons 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, with an extra 5 pallets which hadn’t been procured by BoU .
Last week, 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 corruption, although they have both denied the allegations before magistrate Herbert Asiimwe of the Anti-Corruption court.
They were also released on Cash Bail of Shs30 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, committed an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of their employer and allowed the inclusion of unauthorised cargo on a plane fully chartered by BoU.
It is also 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 ‘At 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.
Kasekende said that “…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.
However, investigators are trying to establish whether the extra money was printed without the knowledge of the top leaders of the bank. The detectives are also trying to establish whether the Shs400Bn at the Masaka currency centre is part of the BoU heist or it is genuine money meant to have been circulated in the economy.