KAMPALA – Youth activists have petitioned the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Parliament’s committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), seeking a thorough investigation into the theft of cash at Bank of Uganda’s Mbale currency centre.
The youth, under their umbrella body, the Uganda Poor Youth Movement, said that Central Bank officials should be prosecuted if found to be involved in the theft of old banknotes.
“We are aware that this habit of siphoning money in pretext of destroying it is not a new habit and the same has been going on even in others branches of BoU that’s why we call for investigations in all branches,” the group chairperson, Mr Babu Ssali, told journalists on Tuesday.
The activists also asked the State House Anti-corruption Unit and IGG to investigate the wealth of all the persons who have been working and accessing the strong rooms where the old currency notes have been kept and see how their wealth tally with the remuneration they earned.
They also asked government to update the country on implementation of Cosase report on closed banks and the outcome of State House investigations into printing of extra monies by the BoU officials.
Mr Zaidi Sempala, the spokesperson of the group, asked the President to intervene personally because Cosase used taxpayer’s money to investigate and came up with a report but the culprits were not apprehended or even questioned.
The Central Bank’s communications director, Ms Charity Mugumya, last week explained that BoU is internally investigating allegations of theft involving staff in Mbale and that some staff were sent on forced leave.
“There were allegations of pilferage involving cancelled stock at Mbale Regional Branch. The Bank is conducting internal investigations to ascertain the veracity of the allegations,” Ms Mugumya said, adding that: “As a result, some staff were sent on leave to pave way for investigations. Details will be available as and when investigations are complete.”
BoU has since issued new tight guidelines to the staff at the different currency centres across the country on accessing cash rooms and counting machines.
The strict rules follow media reports that several staffs at the Mbale Currency Centre have been suspended following allegations that some of them were caught by security operatives while trying to sneak out old notes in sacks.
The old notes were reportedly to be destroyed, but the suspects allegedly tried to sneak them out of the currency center without the knowledge of their supervisors