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Detailed account in the BOU currency saga

FILE PHOTO: BOU headquarters

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | As Ugandans continue to digest what could have happened with the Bank of Uganda currency printing recently, a few details are trickling in. An official at the central bank says what alarmed the central bank is the extra cargo aboard the chartered plane that was only meant to carry currency.

The plane had 25 pallets containing Ugandan currency but only 20 belonged to BoU. The pallets, according to the official were intact when they received them at BOU in Kampala but there was one problem – the non-authorized cargo on the plane.

This cargo was cleared by customs officials after BOU had left. “Our contract is with the printer [of the money]. They are responsible for chartering the cargo plane. So BOU dealt with Oberthur Fiduciare (printer), [a French company] and not Kuehne and Nagel, [the plane company],” the official said.

Kuehne and Nagel is headquartered in Switzerland. The BOU contract requires the printer to charter a plane to bring money to Uganda, according to the source. The plane is supposed to carry only BOU cargo. “Our officers [BOU] are on site prior to departure but don’t travel on the cargo plane. They fly back commercial.”

Suspicion was raised when the plane landed at Entebbe International Airport on April 27, 2019 with extra stuff, which prompted the Central Bank Governor, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile to contact the State House Anti-Corruption Unit Commander, Lt Col. Edith Nakalema for help.

A BOU official told URN that those interrogated include Dr. Charles Malinga, the Director currency and his deputy, Dr. Nambatamba Bazinzi. Others were a junior operations staff in the procurement department and four from the currency department.

Civil Aviation Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority and some security officials were also interrogated. On Saturday, URA distanced itself from the Bank of Uganda saga, saying its members did what they were expected to do when the currency arrived in the country in April.

Dickson Kateshumbwa, the URA acting Commissioner General, said in a statement to journalists on Saturday morning that “When a privately chartered plane arrived in April and as normal practice for sensitive cargo customs facilitated clearance of the currency at the tarmac in presence of BOU officials, BOU security, aviation security, police and other security agencies”.

He said the consignment was then loaded on BOU vehicles and taken to Kampala with heavy security escort.  He said the extra cargo, which belonged to other individuals, companies and organisations and these were cleared after paying taxes.

URA doesn’t mention what cargo was with these officials – this is the little detail that the public must know to keep confidence in the country’s currency. “It is not the responsibility of customs to concern itself in logistical arrangements of importers or exporters,” he said.

Government spokesperson tweeted that the cargo belonged to businessman Charles Mbire, United Nations, USAID and Omar Mandela, the proprietor of Café Javas. URN couldn’t independently verify the claim.

Protecting a country’s currency integrity is one of the key pillars to regain trust in the general economy.  If it happens that one can create extra currency without being sanctioned of pegged on the value of goods in the country, it can crash the entire economy.

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URN

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16 comments

  1. Paul Kilimi Wanda

    Whereas majority of Ugandans work hard to earn a few thousands for survival, some few unscrupulous Ugandans are printing money for their own! This is not only worrying but also mindboggling, perplexing and intolerable. The culprits should be tried in courts of law

    • I think we just need Gilotines to cut off the heads of those few people who are leading the Ugandans into poverty by printing their own money and then affecting the economy through money laundering.

  2. Andrew Kabogoza

    Provide evidence of the excess printed notes , before drawing conclusions.

  3. KIWANUKA RONALD

    This plane only carries BOU cargo let’s stick by that and Sue all these big names on where they got the authorization to load on this plane. I know Justice still reigns somewhere in this blessed mother land.

  4. To me,I think B.O.U should let the public know that the currency money which was brought is the right quantity it had ordered to be printed, then the issue of the extra cargoncan now be handled by the U.R.A,and also the police should make an inquiry to how those extra cargo were loaded,meaning, the company that airlifted the currency must be aware

  5. @KIWANUKA True justice still reigns depending on who involved and on who is behalf.

  6. Anania la'propeta

    The company responsible for airlifting currency must be brought to investigation for carrying extra cargo well aware that it is against signed agreement and security organs at Entebbe airport who claims unnoticed/unawareness disappearance of the cargo after clearance. I think it’s early to draw conclusions over this. Most important is, we need to protect and have confidence in our currency.

  7. if i get a job in govt i will do the same.. steal what so ever i can…becuase now look at all this nosense

  8. Oooh my God……!!!
    I now see that the Pearl of Africa is bleeding.

  9. Its good that the formal investigative agency, police takes over from State House’s Nakalema and all procedures where possible must be made public not to keep citizens in the dark. By the way what had prompted the governor to sidestep the police in the first place in favor of Nakalema who is solely deployed for corruption issues. Had Mr Mutebire already concluded this to be corruption?

    Secondly for Mr Omar Mandela and his old clean record to feature here, really someone more influential in terms of authority must have compelled him.

  10. ugandans dont worry,GOD is watching.one day everything will be known.just pray.

  11. I cry for my motherland ..iam optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel soon and very soon

  12. Its just simple.. Let the court sue the owners of the other cargo that doesn’t belong to BOY because the plane is only obligated to Carry BOU cargo… Investigation start there after…

  13. I accrue to the opinion that the extra five pallets that got their ways into the chartered cargo and then on the land of Uganda are currency. The fact is that the plane was chartered to carry BOU currencies hence the first statement should be that these five pallets were money and the investigation should then be to find out whether they are not currency but not to find out whether they were currency.

  14. Bimenya Richard Musekura

    Let investigations continue untill truth is realised

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