The Bank of Uganda (BoU) days ago dismissed as mere speculation allegations that Shs400 billion was transferred to Masaka currency centre in Masaka Town, saying that it is part of the normal operations of the central bank.
At the time BoU published the statement on the said, police detectives were following a lead that hints at a possible element of concealment of Shs400 billion by senior BoU officials during the ongoing investigation into the currency saga.
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According to the investigation, the money in question was transferred from BoU headquarters in Kampala to the Central Bank’s currency centre in Masaka Kampala on June 14, the same day the investigation into the currency saga started.
But BoU, in a statement issued on July 1 said whereas the money was transferred from the currency centre, it was simply moved from the Old Branch Office on Kampala Road, Masaka to their new building in the same town.
The central bank also explained that movement of currency across their regional branches is a normal procedure as part of its constitutional mandate of “regulating the currency system in the interest of the economic progress of Uganda”.
“BoU as part of its currency processing cycle moves currency stock within the Branch network to optimize vault space in its currency stations and meet the currency demand across the country. Therefore, the movement of stock between Kampala and the upcountry Branches in June 2019 was part of the BoU’s normal currency operations,” the statement reads.
“Furthermore, following the handover of the new building on Katwe Road, Masaka where the new BoU Branch is located, all the Centre’s operations shifted from the Old Branch Office on Kampala Road, Masaka,” the statement added.
However, in the statement, BoU doesn’t indicate that the transferred money was Shs400 billion. Analysts say that money was too much and that there is a hidden agenda behind the huge sums of money to an upcountry currency centre where business is not as high as in the central region.
The investigators are intrigued by the fact that the money was transferred to Masaka on the day the investigation into the currency saga started and that the money was stored into Masaka Currency Centre in a room without CCTV cameras.
The revelation, sources said, implies attempts to conceal a bigger corruption syndicate involving the printing of extra money at BoU.
It also adds controversy as to the amount of money that was said to have been transported to Kampala from Europe after it was printed.
While earlier media reports had indicated that extra money had been brought into the country, BoU denied this, insisting that the cargo plane had the authorised printed money and other luggage. But the same BoU says there was extra 5 pallets on the plane, considering that its pallets were 20.
With the CCTV cameras switched off in the Masaka currency centre, it means officials were upto something, with security arguing that the money could have been stolen or misappropriated without trace.
A confidential report of the Presidential Tripartite Committee, authored February pointed out that Tumusiime-Mutebile, personally recruited five senior staff without subjecting them to any interviews as required by law, moreover some of them have no qualifications and experience required to hold those jobs.
BoU latest scandals come at the time when government has not implemented recommendations of COSASE report which was authored by MPs following the probe of BoU over the controversial closure of seven commercial banks, including Crane Bank Limited (CBL) that was closed in October 2016 on grounds of undercapitalisation.
That was worsened as BoU officials failed to account for Sh320 billion of the Shs478 billion they claimed to have injected in CBL as liquidity support while in receivership.
The scandals also have forced MPs to call for trimming of some powers of BoU as well as the powers of the governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile and his deputy Dr. Louis Kasekende who both sit on the board as Chairman and Vice chairman.