The Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has dragged city tycoons Charles Mbire, Omar Ahmed Mandela into the ongoing Bank of Uganda currency cargo saga.
Although Mr Opondo’s quickly organized press briefing has been dismissed as a spin, Mbiire and Mandela could land in trouble for abusing state resources without permissions. More to this, is how United States development agency USAID and United Nations, has been cited into the saga.
On Friday morning, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit confirmed that they were carrying out an investigation on the central bank over its procurement and supply chain activities.
“A number of senior bank personnel, customs and Civil Authority personnel are being questioned” with regard to the Bank’s procurement and supply chain activities,” she said in a statement.
Collaborated reports indicated that eight directors at Bank of Uganda are under investigation by police, military and State House Anti-Corruption Unit for illegally printing and smuggling money in the excess of sh90 billions.
Col Nakalema however said the operation will not affect the normal running of the Central Bank.
The illicit huge monies Nakalema’s team alongside Police are probing, entered the country through Entebbe International Airport from France aboard a private airplane which usually transports BoU new currency.
However, speaking to the media yesterday, Opondo said the investigation so far seem to point that there is no additional money printed by either officials of BoU or somebody and later delivered to Uganda.
“Our investigations point to some business people and other organisations who were simply taking advantage of a cheap flight that had already been chartered by Bank of Uganda,” he disclosed.
The government mouthpiece said that BoU procured items from France and chartered a plane from Paris to deliver its consignment of 20 pallets to Uganda on April 27, 2019 with the bank staff.
After they had checked and cleared the items, one of the staff noticed that the plane was carrying additional five pallets.
According to Opondo, the extra pallets belonged to 13 private individuals and organisations including the United Nations (UN) irregularly loaded unto the cargo plane. No other items were meant to be on the plane except Bank of Uganda’s.
“Very surprisingly the United Nations and USAID are among them. The plane carried UN supplies like blood reagents, solar equipment and other items. There were also goods for other local Ugandans like Charles Mbire, Mandela Millers and Uptake Uganda Investment Limited.
“We want to assure the public that the investigation at BoU is smooth and I want to underscore that this follows a written request by the Governor and we are sure that all officials who are connected to this procurement will cooperate with Uganda Police and State House Anti-Corruption Unit,” said Opondo.