State Minister for Planning, David Bahati on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the ongoing Bank of Uganda (BoU) currency saga, with reports alleging that extra Shs90bn was printed for individuals’ own use.
During today’s plenary sitting, Bahati revealed that Bank of Uganda entered into contract with Oberthur Fiduciaire on 26th July, 2018 to supply and deliver printed matter (read currency notes) and the contract requires that the supplier identifies at least two reputable carriers and insurers and advise the Bank of the applicable terms and costs.
According to Bahati, the supplier’s communication indicated full charter for the three options that were provided, from which the Bank selected Kuhne & Nagel to airlift the printed matter to Entebbe International Airport.
As such, Bank of Uganda sent staff to travel to France to undertake the quality assurance functions of ensuring that the right consignment is loaded on the cargo plane from 22-26th April 2019.
But on 27th April 2019 when the printed matter arrived at Entebbe International Airport the twenty (20) pallets destined for BOU were received, intact and well-sealed but the Bank’s team noticed five (5) extra cargo pallets on board the chartered plane.
After receiving the information on 7th May 2019, the Central Bank Governor, Emmanuel Mutebile invited the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House (ACU) to investigate the matter.
“Bank of Uganda is still committed to assist the investigators to ascertain the facts surrounding the matter. The investigations so far are going on well and we hope that they will be concluded soon,” Bahati said.
Bahati warned Ugandans against spreading false news and committed to give the public timely information regarding the investigation.
“I appeal to the public to restrain from perpetuating the false information that could compromise the investigations. I assure the public that we shall go to the bottom of this matter and the truth will be known and given to the general public in a timely manner,” he said without revealing whether extra money was illegally brought into the economy.
“So far there is no indication that this incident will affect our economy negatively especially in terms of inflation,” he said.
However, a section of MPs rejected the statement, describing it as shoddy and accused the Minister of being economical with the truth.
Kasanda North County Member of Parliament, Patrick Oshabe rejected the statement saying Government has fallen short or revealing the amount of money involved arguing.
“The pallets under investigation will not cause inflation; he hasn’t told us how much money was involved….even the Minister doesn’t know how much is involved. Can the minister tell us how much money was in a single pallet?” he said.
Gaster Mugoya, the Bukooli North MP said Bahati presented a blanket statement that it doesn’t in anyway give confidence to the country.
Bugweri County MP, Abdu Katuntu warned that if the narrative of extra currency being printed is right, this will affect the credibility of Uganda’s currency.
“If that narrative is correct, then there are consequences, it has consequences on credibility of our currency and management of the Bank (Bank of Uganda). The matter isn’t helped by conflicting statements from Government agencies,” said Katuntu.