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REVEALED: IMF sends senior official to monitor BoU activities amid operational blunders

Central Bank boss Emmanuel Tusiime Mutebile in his office recently. IMF to intervene in the investigation of Bank’s scandals (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – A senior official from International Monetary Fund (IMF) was recently in the country to check on the operations of the Central Bank amid concerns that Bank of Uganda (BoU) has flouted international supervision and regulatory practices following a series of scandals.

Addressing the High-Level Stakeholders’ Engagement on Building a 21st Century Ugandan Economy held at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile confirmed that the IMF recently sent a Bank Supervision Advisor to monitor the Central Bank operations.

“Although bank supervision and regulatory structures broadly follow international best practices, Bank of Uganda has stepped up the strengthening of commercial bank’s financial reporting, internal controls, and governance. Weaknesses in these areas were at the core of the most recent commercial bank failures,” Mr Mutebile said.

“I am very pleased to report that the International Monetary Fund has recently sent to us a resident bank supervision advisor,” he added.

BoU has in the last two years been in the spotlight amid claims that senior officials were involved in the fraudulent closure and sale of seven commercial banks, among them Crane Bank Limited owned tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia.

Last week, this website reported that BoU had sacked all staff at the Mbale currency centre after an investigation established that some of them were involved in theft of hard cash.

Sources said more security was last Thursday deployed at the currency centre in an attempt to reinforce monitoring and supervision.

Sources said all staff at the centre from cleaners to senior managers were fired after some of them were caught on CCTV camera picking old currency that is destined to be destroyed.

Whereas the allegations of theft surfaced some months ago, sources said BoU management decided to conduct a thorough investigation to establish the extent of the matter.

The investigation revealed that huge sums had been stolen from the strong room, hence the latest action.

Ms Charity Mugumya, the BoU communications manager, was not immediately available for comment.

The revelation comes months after investigations into the extra cargo that was loaded on a Bank of Uganda (BoU) chattered plane was extended to currency centres in Mbale, Kabale and Fort Portal. The head of BoU Currency Centres in Kabale and Mbale were also questioned for failure to detect the extra consignment on a chartered plane with sensitive government cargo.

Mr Francis Kakeeto, the Assistant Currency Director Bank of Uganda Mbale Branch, and two other officials were charged in relation to the reported extra currency that BoU brought into the country from France in April.

The Central Bank has over the last year been in the news for the wrong reasons. Recently, the committee, which was formed by President Museveni in February following concerns about Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile’s sweeping staff changes,  recommended that  that the Board of Directors reviews all promotions effected on 7th February 2018 and rectify the departure from the standing policy on recruitments as contained in the Administration Manual and highlighted in this report.

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