BoU Saga: Gov’t & BoU to print New Ugandan currency

Members of parliament have advised the government to embark on the printing of a new currency in order to save the image of the bank of Uganda. The Governor of Bank of Uganda has been asked by MPs to clearly explain the saga surrounding the bank, saying that it undermines its integrity and scares away investors.

FDC party deputy secretary general, Harold Kaija, said the bank has been involved in many scandals, but the recent allegation of officials printing excess money scares the public.

“We want an honest explanation, an account of the events happening at the central bank because the economy cannot run smoothly with issues surrounding the bank,” Kaija said.

He made the plea during the party’s weekly press conference at their headquarters in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb, yesterday. Following a report from the central bank staff about an anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment, the Bank of Uganda Governor, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, said he requested the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House, headed by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, to investigate the matter.

The UGANDANZ BLOG has established that the sh350b central bank new currency consignment (C10521) was packed in 20 pallets containing the currency from France, but the consignment, which was supposed to be exclusively shipped to Uganda by the contracted Ms. Kuene ++Nagel cargo chartered plane, contained other five suspicious cargo pallets belonging to 13 private entities, including the United Nations, the United States Agency for International Development and private business people.

Over the weekend, the central bank’s director of communication, Charity Mugumya, denied there was extra cash printed, saying the issue under investigation is one of the logistical anomaly and not extra currency printing. Kaija said the current explanation, either from the bank or the Government, has left the public in confusion and wondering who to trust.

“It beats our understanding that an institution like the central bank can hire a chartered plane and also people load on it their private consignment,” Kaija wondered. He added that the Bank of Uganda boasts the best economists in the country, but the saga around it compromises their credibility and veracity. “We need the image of the central bank saved before it is dented, like other institutions and departments of government that can no longer serve the people with dignity,” he said.

Apart from the bank’s image, Kaija also warned that the recent scandals scare away investors because the health of the financial sector in the country is in the hands of the Bank of Uganda. Among the recent scandals surrounding the central bank, Kaija named the scenario where he said the bank procured rolling ball pens each at sh357,000, for its golden jubilee celebrations.

“The bank spent sh125m to procure 350 souvenir pens. Sadly, the bank paid for the pens when the event had already taken place, which the internal procurement department found irregular.”

The other saga is the Auditor General’s 2018 report which revealed fl aws in the management of the central bank. The report also cited fl aws in BOU’s closure of seven commercial banks – Teefe Bank (1993), International Credit Bank Ltd (1998), Greenland Bank (1999), Co-operative Bank (1999), National Bank of Commerce (2012), Global Trust Bank (2014) and Crane Bank (2016).

The Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises that scrutinised the AG’s report also found that BOU offi cials fl outed the Financial Institutions Act (FIS) during the closure and sale of the banks

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Muwanga Ronald is editor in chief of the UGANDANZ news website. He was formerly editorial director of UGANDANZ.COM, overseeing the publication’s digital operations. Before joining UGANDANZ in December 2018, Ronald was managing editor of NILE HOST In 2014, he was a finalist for the UJA Awards for Young Journalists for his reporting on the women's emancipation. Under his leadership NILE HOST won Media Industry Newsletter's Best of the Web award in 2018. A graduate of Makerere University, Ronald speaks Luganda and French and lives in Kampala with his wife and two children.