KAMPALA – The head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, has dismissed allegations that there was another suspicious consignment of cash on the chartered plane carrying currency ordered by the Bank of Uganda.
The State House Anti Corruption Unit together with the Criminal Investigations Directorate of police are currently investigating about eight officials from different government agencies implicated in the suspected procurement scam.
In an interview on Monday, Col Nakalema said preliminary findings indicated that no extra money was carried into the country, contrary to initial reports that about Shs90b excess money was on the flight.
However, Lt Col Nakalema said the investigators are still interested to know how private cargo found its way on the same chartered flight with the government currency.
“We are informed that the plane did not carry people but we want to find out who cleared the cargo,” Lt Col Nakalema said.
She also assured the public that there was nothing dangerous to the country that was carried on the plane into the country.
“I am not seeing BoU free but they gave us a kick-start to investigate and we are discovering new things. We have not recovered any money and it was not our question because BoU received the 20 pallets expected but we are investigating how the extra five pallets came on board,” she said.
Lt Col Nakalema insisted the extra five pallets did not contain money but declined to explain the contents.
Initially, it had been alleged that the extra pallets contained an excess of Shs90b.
Lt Col Nakalema confirmed that some of the arrested officials were interrogated and released on police bond but others remained in custody.
“It is a wide investigation involving many people and many agencies coming on board. It will take us long to decide on who to take to court and when,” she said.
Bank of Uganda (BoU) chartered the UK-based KUENE +NAGEL Cargo plane to deliver a consignment of Uganda currency. The plane departed from Liege Airport in France and landed at Entebbe on April 27 early morning.
But it was later discovered that on the same flight was cargo of private individuals, which has triggered suspicion of foul play that warranted investigation.
On Wednesday, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and police arrested several BoU officials in charge of currency, procurement and security and officials from the Customs Department, airport police officers and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) staff. “Our key point is why and how did it (airline) carry extra cargo and for who?” Lt Col Nakalema said.
On Friday, Lt Col Edith Nakalema issued a statement saying the arrests had been carried out in liaison with CID and BoU to conduct a special investigation on the matter pertaining to the bank’s procurement and supply chain activities. In a statement on Friday, BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said he requested the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House to investigate the matter after his staff discovered the anomaly.