Prominent businessman Charles Mbire has said it was not his business on how his cargo got on the Bank of Uganda chartered plane flight following the ongoing central bank currency ‘shipping’ saga.
The businessman told Daily Monitor on Saturday that after buying 20 litres of adhesive glue in London, he contracted Allied Cargo Express, a London-based shipping agency, to deliver it to Entebbe International Airport.
Mbire said he only went to the airport to receive the glue meant for his boat.
“I had no direct business to do with the people of the cargo plane because after buying 20 litres of adhesive glue in London, I contracted Allied Cargo Express, who are also in London, to ship it for me. I am not part of choosing how the glue came here but I went to pick it at the airport,” Mbire told the local daily.
The businessman said he was not sure whether there was connivance between Allied Cargo Express and the company running the Cargo plane to airlift their client’s cargo on a chartered aircraft.
“This is like DHL because when you ship, you wait to receive and the shipper handles the logistics,” he explained.
Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo on Friday dragged city tycoons Mbire, Omar Ahmed Mandela into the saga.
Speaking to the media at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Opondo said the investigation so far seemed to point that there was 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.
Earlier on, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit had 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.