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Ugandan Runs To Court, Seeks To Abolish All Bank Notes In Circulation

A Ugandan Citizen, Brian Kasajja, has petitioned the High Court in Mukono seeking a declaration to abolish all the Uganda Shilling notes and coins in circulation.

In a petition before the Civil Division of the High Court in Mukono, Kasajja is seeking a declaration that the continued circulation of bank notes signed by the Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Dr. Michael Atingi-Ego unlawful, irrational, and a nullity in law.

He wants an order quashing all the currency bank notes of denominations of 1,000, 2000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, and 50,000 signed by Atingi-Ego on the basis that they are not legal tender on their face value in law as they bear an electronic signature of an unauthorized person.

Kasajja further wants a declaration proclaiming and affirming that the Ugandan Shilling currency Bank notes in continuous public circulation bearing the electronic signature of the late Governor Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Mutebile is not legal tender.

He says the late Governor’s electronic signature is currently invalid in law on account that there is no survivorship or inheritance attached to it upon the death of the signature holder, and it is mandatorily liable to be revoked upon the death of the maker under the provision of section 69(a) of the Electronic Signatures Act, 2011.

Although Mutebile died on January 23rd, 2022, the Senior Economist Dr Atingi-Ego was appointed as his Deputy Governor of the Bank of Uganda, on March 29th, 2020 and has since then been the signatory on the Ugandan currencies following Mutebile’s death.

The records before Court indicate that on December 18th 2023, Kasajja keenly realized and critically observed that there were Ugandan shilling currency notes in continued circulation bearing the signature of the Deputy Governor Dr Atingi Ego and not the Governor as it should have been required by law. As a result, he says he wrote to the Bank a copy of which was received two days later but ignored hence seeking Judicial intervention to review the alleged illegal, irrational and unlawful acts of Bank of Uganda which he says have serious legal, social and economic effects on the whole country and to the users of the said currency notes including himself.

Records further indicate that the petitioner addressed his mind to the Bank of Uganda Act, and that he is reliably informed with authoritative information that there is no legal provision for extension of the validity period of a Governor’s signature after and upon death or demise.

Kasajja contends that the Deputy Governor has no statutory authority under Section 3(2) of the Bank of Uganda Act as amended to sign following the death of a Governor.

He says the Governor is not absent from his Constitutional Office but dead.

“The Governor of the Respondent/Bank of Uganda is not absent but dead and there is no statutory, constitutional or contractual legal basis obligations by the dead Governor to be deputized by the living Deputy Governor whose public appointment is also then not gazetted as such to lawfully validate his Constitutional and statutory obligations as public officer holding a public office in the Republic of Uganda,” said Kasajja.

In his supportive affidavit, Kasajja informs the High Court that he is a citizen of testamentary capacity whose sufficient interest is in the affairs of BoU as he uses and transacts the Uganda shillings currency Bank Notes issued by the Central Bank in the ordinary course of life , like all people in the country.

As such, he adds that any alleged gross continuous violation of statute, it’s board members or officers in positions of authority in as far as the sovereign living instrument the Uganda shillings bank currency is concerned becomes a constitutional very serious matter of great public constitutional concern with consequences affecting all people in the country and beyond it’s borders who use the Ugandan currency to transact physically and electronically including himself.

He contends that his application is a matter of great, high constitutional importance, opulence and pragmatic novelty to this country and the bedrock of it’s economic fountain as issues raised, asserted and pleaded are significantly grave and of sufficient public importance, significance and concern. This he says is because they relate to a continued illegality and unlawfully illegal act against sovereign living instrument, the Ugandan shilling currency bank notes continuously issued and in continued circulation by the Bank of Uganda the only institution constitutionally.

According to Kasajja, the Deputy Governor has recently, actively and continuously in fulfilled responsibilities of the Governor under section 8 of the Bank of Uganda Act, including among others organizing and managing of the bank at its head office including branches and agencies, causing accounts to be kept of all transactions entered into by the bank and of the assets and liabilities of the bank and of valuables entrusted to the bank, safe keeping of all assets of the bank and any valuables entrusted to the bank, ensuring proper discharge of duties of officers and other employees of the bank, supervision .of arrangements relating to the issues and redemption of notes and coins and issuance of the bank’s annual report in closure of the financial year in December 2023.

As such, he says the afore actions of the Deputy Governor under section 8 are grossly unlawful and illegal as the Governor is not absent from office but dead and there is no board- the lawful constitutional authority of the Central Bank in accordance with Article 161(2) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda as amended and section 7(1) (a) of the Bank of Uganda Act, to be consulted by the Deputy Governor.

He wants the Court to issue a mandamus order ( an immediate order ) directing the Central Bank to give a 15 days notice in the Uganda Gazette to recall all the currency signed by Atingi Ego and those of the late Mutebile because they suffer from what he describes as acute impaired legal status and legally contagious to the monetary economy.

The Bank of Uganda which has been listed as the only respondent in this case is yet to be summoned to file it’s defence before the matter.

-URN

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