BOU top bosses arrested over excess printing of money
Six top officials from Bank of Uganda were on Wednesday arrested and questioned by State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Police over issues related to excess printing of money. According to sources, the officials are from the departments of currency and legal.
The officers were arrested after reports of anomalies reportedly with the BOU consignment upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Among those arrested include Dr. Barenzi, the deputy director in charge of operations who was among those who reportedly flew to France to supervise the printing of the money. Barenzi represented Charles Malinga, BoU’s Executive Director Operations who was on leave to ferry the money
Reports say, the missing consignment contained printed currency from France. The Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit Edith Nakalema confirmed the raid but declined to give details. He said the raid on BOU was in relation to issues of procurement and supply.
“Yes the Unit together with the director CID we went in two days because we are investigating issues to do with procurement and supply,” she said without mentioning the type of supplies.
BOU deputy governor Louis Kasekende however said he was not on the ground and therefore could not comment.
“I am out of the country. I am not on the ground,” he said referring New Vision to the director Communication Charity Mugumya.
Mugumya informed New Vision that the officers were still assisting with the investigation. “It was not a raid as such. The BOU requested the anti-corruption unit after he was notified of the anomalies in a BOU consignment,” she said.
Nakalema later on Friday issued a statement in which she conceded that they were working together with the CID and in conjunction with the Bank of Uganda to carry out a special investigations on a matter pertaining to the banks procurement and supply chain activities.
“The investigation is being carried out following an invitation by the Governor of Bank pf Uganda and in close cooperation with the Governor’s office,” Nakalema said.
She noted that the matter under investigation involved a recent, “procurement consignment. A number of senior ban personnel, customs and Civil Aviation Authority personnel are being questioned,” she added.
Nakalema noted that BOU operations remain intact and uninterrupted.
We have since learnt that the officials were arrested after a tip off that they had printed money in excess of the figures that had been approved and loaded it on the plane before it vanished after it was off loaded from the chartered plane.
We have also learnt that the operation was carried out following a President Yoweri Museveni’s directive after Bank of Uganda officials raised an alarm over claims that some boxes had gone missing.
Security sources told our reporter that in April this year, Bank of Uganda sent two of its officials including Dr. Barenzi to Germany to print new currencies to replace the old ones. The source said that after printing the money, BOU officials reportedly colluded with the printing company officials and printed excess money. The money was parked in 25 boxes but some other sources revealed there were many more. However among the boxes that were parked were five which are now subject of inquiry over suspicion that they contained sh90 billion which has now been reported missing.
Our reporter has also learnt that shortly after printing the money, BOU chartered a plane to transport the money from Germany to Entebbe International Airport. Sources in security noted that a red flag was raised at the airport by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) of the excess boxes a board the chartered plane which some BOU officials claimed were personal items.
URA insisted on verifying the bill of lading to verify whether the extra boxes had been had been cleared by the Germans before the airplane departed for Entebbe but sources say the BOU officials compromised the whole process.
However the matter was raised to the Governor and head of security who launched an internal investigation which revealed that excess money had been printed and inserted on to the plane after the billing of lading had been cleared by the agents and the plane authority.
This website has also learnt that that some officials from BOU who went to receive the money questioned those aboard the plane asking why they had breached BOU rules and inserted personal items on the charted craft.
Under the BOU Police, a craft sent to carry currency is not authorized to carry any other cargo. Sources revealed that BOU officials cleared their boxes but it remains unclear under what circumstances the remaining boxes vanished at the airport.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo told the Globe that the other extra 5 pallets of 13 private individuals and Organisations including the United Nations (UN) irregularly loaded unto the cargo plane.
Investigations are still going on.