Police recover evidence on BoU currency saga

Police have said they are investigating alleged printing of unauthorised extra currency by some Bank of Uganda (BoU) officials following recovery of crucial documents during a joint security search at the suspects’ homes.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga yesterday said they raided homes of six senior bank officials and recovered the documents which suggest printing of unauthorised excess currency notes.
Without revealing the identities, Mr Enanga said the officials are still in police detention as investigations continue.

The searches were done in the homes of the officials and a number of documents were recovered. With time, we shall get how much was involved, how much (money) has been recovered, what was genuine (currency), [and] what was unofficial, but genuine money,” Mr Enanga said.

On Wednesday last week, the State House Anticorruption Unit and police arrested several BoU officials in charge of currency, procurement and security and officials from the Customs Department, airport police officers and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) staff.
Mr Enanga said police are investigating whether the established procedures to print money were duly followed.

He said the investigating officers would analyse the serial numbers of the printed currency notes now in possession of the Central Bank to establish whether they are fake or genuine but unofficially printed.

Efforts to get a comment from THE BoU spokesperson, Ms Charity Mugumya, were futile.
However, she was quoted in a local newspaper yesterday saying that printing of money is under strict international regulations and cannot be flouted by individuals.
Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, yesterday declined to comment on the case, saying she had handed over the investigations to police for further management.

On Sunday, she said preliminary findings indicated no extra money was carried into the country as initial reports had suggested.
Initial reports said Shs90b excess money was on the same flight that delivered the consignment of BoU official currency notes in April.

“I am not seeing BoU free, but they gave us a kick-start to investigate and we are discovering new things. We have not recovered any money and it was not our question because BoU received the 20 pallets expected but we are investigating how the extra five pallets came on board,” Lt Col Nakalema said.
“We are informed that the plane did not carry people but we want to find out who cleared the cargo,” she added.

She said investigators were interested in knowing how private cargo found its way on the same chartered flight with government currency.
She insisted the extra five pallets on the plane did not contain money but declined to explain what was contained in the said pallets.

On Sunday, sources privy to the investigations said the government had summoned operators and owners of a UK airline to explain to investigators how unexpected cargo came on board with printed currency on a government-chartered plane.

The sources said Bank of Uganda chartered the UK-based KUENE +NAGEL Cargo plane to deliver the consignment of Uganda currency. The plane departed from Liege Airport in France and landed at Entebbe on April 27 early morning.
However upon landing, it was later discovered that on the same flight was cargo of private individuals, which has triggered suspicion of foul play that warranted investigation.

In a statement last Friday, BoU Governor Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile said that on April 27, the Central Bank received a currency consignment but during the verification process, the staff reported an anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment.
“Therefore, I requested the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House to investigate the matter. The unit has started investigations and BoU is fully co-operating with the process,” Mr Mutebile said without divulging further details.

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