A section of Members of Parliament have rejected a statement by government on the ongoing Bank of Uganda currency shipping saga.
On Tuesday, State Minister of Finance for Planning told Parliament that BoU entered into contract with Oberthur Fiduciaire on 26th July, 2018 to supply and deliver printed matter [read currency notes] and the contract required that the supplier identifies at least two reputable carriers and insurers and advise the Bank of the applicable terms and costs.
According to online news website businessfocus.co.ug, the supplier’s communication indicated full charter for the three options that were provided, from which the Bank selected Kuhne & Nagel to airlift the printed matter to Entebbe International Airport.
As such, Bank of Uganda sent staff to travel to France to undertake the quality assurance functions of ensuring that the right consignment is loaded on the cargo plane from 22-26th April 2019.
But on 27th April 2019 when the printed matter arrived at Entebbe International Airport the twenty (20) pallets destined for BOU were received, intact and well-sealed but the Bank’s team noticed five (5) extra cargo pallets on board the chartered plane.
After receiving the information on 7th May 2019, the Central Bank Governor, Emmanuel Mutebile invited the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House (ACU) to investigate the matter.
“Bank of Uganda is still committed to assist the investigators to ascertain the facts surrounding the matter. The investigations so far are going on well and we hope that they will be concluded soon.
“I assure the public that we shall go to the bottom of this matter and the truth will be known and given to the general public in a timely manner,” he said without revealing whether extra money was illegally brought into the economy.
The minister also stated that so far there is no indication that this incident will affect our economy negatively especially in terms of inflation.
In response, Kasanda North County MP Nsamba Patrick Oshabe rejected the statement saying, “The pallets under investigation will not cause inflation; he hasn’t told us how much money was involved….even the Minister doesn’t know how much is involved. Can the minister tell us how much money was in a single pallet?”
Gaster Mugoya, the Bukooli North legislator also said Bahati presented a blanket statement which does not in any way give confidence to the country.
Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu warned that if the narrative of extra currency being printed is right, this will affect the credibility of Uganda’s currency.
“If that narrative is correct, then there are consequences, it has consequences on credibility of our currency and management of the Bank (Bank of Uganda). The matter isn’t helped by conflicting statements from Government agencies,” said Katuntu.
Recently, 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 some top directors at Bank of Uganda were 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.