Government has refuted claims that any money is missing at Bank of Uganda but confirmed an investigation is going on to establish how illegitimate cargo, found itself on a chattered plane carrying new BoU banknotes on April 27th.
On June 14th, nearly 24 hours after it was first reported by online media houses, government spokesperson and Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo P’Odel told a hastily organised press conference that while there was no money missing.
“No arrests have been made, it’s just investigations of about six to eight Bank of Uganda officials in procurement, currency and legal for failing to do due diligence. Others are customs officials from the airport,” the Uganda Media Centre official twitter channel posted.
He however did not explain why it took nearly 50 days, for government to come out openly about the scandal.
Ofwono Opondo said that following the discovery on arrival in Uganda, that the cargo plane, belonging to a yet unnamed carrier, was carrying 5 more cargo palettes, BoU officials reported to the Governor, who then called in the Statehouse anti-graft Unit to investigate.
“”Governor of Bank of Uganda Prof Tumusiime Mutebile then wrote a letter to the Anti-Corruption Unit at Statehouse to conduct a special expeditious investigation,” Ofwono said.
Earlier statements by both the Statehouse anti-corruption Unit and Bank of Uganda had confirmed an investigation was going on, but declined to specify the nature of the crime and the extent.
Both a letter to the Anti-Corruption Unit at Statehouse to conduct a special expeditious investigation,” Ofwono said.
Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema’s State House Anti-Corruption Unit called it a “special investigation on a matter pertaining to the Bank’s procurement and supply chain activities” while a statement by Bank of Uganda Governor, called it “an anomaly in the inventory of the expected consignment.”
Mutebile in his statement said that following the anomaly, he “requested the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of State House to investigate the matter.”
“The ACU has started investigations and Bank of Uganda is fully co-operating with the process,” Mutebile added.
Ofwono Opondo said that preliminary investigations showed that the extra 5 palettes belonged to 13 different entities that among others included the United Nations, USAID and city businessman Charles Mbiire.
When the story first leaked to the media, unconfirmed reports on several online media platforms said, Lt.Col Edith Nakalema’s unit raided the central bank this week and arrested five officials in the currency department over what is said to be unauthorised printing of vast sums of currency- said to be in excess of UGX90 billion, for private benefit.
It was also alleged that the money entered into the country via Entebbe International Airport, but never made it to the central bank’s strong rooms.
BoU’s Director of Communications, a one, Charity Mugumya was unreachable.
This reporter spoke to BoU Tumubweine Twinemanzi, the Executive Director, Bank Supervision and Mrs. Susan Wasagali Kanyemibwa, the Bank Secretary (Executive Director), who both declined to talk about the matter and referred this reporter back to the central bank’s spokesperson.
An answered questions remain
Even though government has refuted claims that any money is missing, it is unclear why it took more than a month to come out about the scandal.
It also remains to be understood why BoU senior officials initially denied knowledge of the scandal.
We will over the coming days unveil more details about the scandal.
Uganda should only borrow for transport, energy, health, education and agriculture infrastructure- Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has directed that borrowing of funds for national infrastructure development should only be ascribed to railway construction, electricity generation, irrigation schemes, strategic roads’ building and to some aspects of education and health sectors.
Thi was during a Monday, September 16th meeting with the African Development Bank (AfDB) regional director in charge of the Eastern Africa Regional Centre, Gabriel Negattu, at State House in Entebbe.
“In the education sector, it is the issue of the government programme for the implementation of the construction of 280 secondary schools at sub-county level countrywide. At the university level, the focus should be on the construction of laboratories first and then main halls, which are optional. Let us do all this with respect to other hard-core issues,” he said, noting that this was necessary to clarify “for purposes of streamlining proper national economic growth”.
Also present in the meeting were Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Higher Education State Minister John Chrysostom Muyingo and Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza.
Museveni said construction of the railway is crucial because it will link Uganda to the neighbouring countries such as the DR Congo and South Sudan.
He also noted that there was need to increase electricity generation given that all that is available is consumed because of due to the dynamics of the internal economy in Uganda.
On his part, Negattu concurred with President Museveni, saying funds ought to be borrowed and managed for strategic sectors in the economy, advising government on the need to think broadly beyond Uganda while planning for infrastructure development.
“Think beyond Uganda and go to East Africa in order to create a centre for development and economic excellence in the region for the future,” he added.
Kakooza revealed that out of the 280 secondary schools to be constructed in the country, at between $60 and 70 million, 134 will be newly built with the rest requiring only refurbishment.
Oil Money will not be for Consumption or even Salaries – President Museveni
President Yoweri Museveni has echoed that Uganda’s cash from the oil resource will not be used for consumption or even salaries to civil servants.
The President made the remarks on Friday while addressing the business community attending a 3-day Uganda-Tanzania Business Forum 2019 at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar-es-Salaam, the Tanzanian capital. The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni was among other cabinet ministers and private sector officials at the forum.
“Under my leadership, the money from oil will not be used for consumption or salaries. Why? Because it is a resource that is exhaustible and finite. One day there will no longer be oil. That is why I insisted that money from these resources should only be used to create durable capacity for the Ugandan economy namely; build power dams, irrigation schemes, the railway, scientific innovations and some aspects of education,” he said.
The forum is the first of its kind and was the initiative of the partnership of Tanzanian Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU). It aims at offering a platform for the business community to share experiences, explore investment opportunities across borders, create business to business networks, identify and discuss challenges in the presence of the Heads of State and Government Ministers and policy makers.
The forum also lays emphasis on issues relating to the steps that can be taken to address and overcome the bottlenecks to the thriving of the bilateral trade between Uganda and Tanzania. Earlier, President Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli were conducted on a guided tour of exhibition stalls in which Ugandan companies and government ministries including Uganda Airlines, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Railways Corporation, Kakira Sugar Works, Stanbic Bank, National Social Security Fund, NITA, UCC, Ugandan Petroleum sector, the Ministry of Energy, and the National Oil Company, among others, showcased what they offer.
President Museveni said he is interested in learning the conclusions of the forum on topics relating to the attractiveness of the 2 countries as destinations of investments, harmonisation of the strategies and partnerships in the emerging data economy, trade and infrastructure, reducing the cost of doing business between Uganda and Tanzania and the local content as a key to the unlocking of the long term value in extractive industries.
The President and his host concurred on the plan to enhance water transport from the Port of Mwanza in Tanzania to Port Bell in Uganda adding that railway transport between the two countries would go a long way in promoting sustainable trade and investment between the two countries. Mr. Museveni revealed that the East African governments are working aggressively on power saying that in Uganda today total power generation will soon be 2,000 megawatts which will ensure reliable power supply transmission and the lowering of power costs for manufacturers.
President Magufuli described the 1st business forum between Uganda and Tanzania as a historical occasion. He thanked the organizers for effecting the forum and President Museveni for honouring it with his presence. “The cooperation between Uganda and Tanzania has been in existence since time immemorial even before colonial time. The borders cannot separate us. We shall continue working together in development,” he said.
He stressed that it was important for the two countries to strengthen their cooperation in development drawing on the potential of their own natural resources in the sectors of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. President Magufuli revealed that to ensure faster movement of people and goods between Uganda and Tanzania, his government is going to institute only two checkpoints from Dar-es-Salaam to the Ugandan border.
President Magufuli added that measures are underway to ensure that goods move freely in the EAC region with a view to increasing trade and investment. “The room for investment is very wide for Uganda and Tanzania business sector. This bilateral forum should be promoted for our people in business. Let’s agree and do business and stop lagging behind in development,” he added.
The Tanzanian leader disclosed that President Museveni and himself took the decision and agreed to the building of an oil pipeline from Hoima to Tanga, one of the longest pipelines in the world, as a sign of commitment between the two countries. During the Forum, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a number of Memoranda of Understanding between Uganda and Tanzania in the fields of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Migration. President Magufuli also hosted President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni to a luncheon at State House, Dar-es-Salaam.
MP Munyagwa Denies Bribery Allegations As Pressure Mounts On Him Over His Meeting With KCCA ED, Eng. Kitaka
“Currently, COSASE is seeking the dismissal of Mr Moses Atwine, whose recruitment as KCCA Director Physical Planning, has been termed as “unlawful” because he does not have the requisite qualification for the job.”
On Monday, photos of MP Munyagwa and Eng Kitaka went viral on social media platforms with reports saying the two discussed how to strike a compromise on the on-going probe into KCCA staff appointments by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE).
Kawempe South Member of Parliament, Mubarak Munyagwa has since confirmed meeting Eng Andrew Kitaka, the acting Executive Director of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) but refuted claims that their conversation was rotates around the ongoing probe into the authority. The MP currently chairs COSASE.
On Tuesday, Munyagwa told journalists at Parliament that the meeting captured on a CCTV camera at the Silver City Restaurant, Garden City, was not pre-planned because he was “only going to the gym when he encountered Eng Kitaka.
“I met with Kitaka nine days ago. The problem I have with Kitaka is the delay by the contractor to clear the Lubigi Drainage channel. This was not a secret meeting as some media houses are insinuating. How could I have a secret meeting at a balcony of a restaurant in broad day light?” Munyagwa said.
Currently, COSASE is seeking the dismissal of Mr Moses Atwine, whose recruitment as KCCA Director Physical Planning, has been termed as “unlawful” because he does not have the requisite qualification for the job.
Munyagwa says that despite KCCA spending Shs21 billion on the channel, several area of Kawempe South especially Bwaise, floods every time it rains, hence a need for KCCA to fix the problem.
Asked whether, their conversation did not touch issues of Atwine, Munyagwa said that that Eng Kitaka tried to raise it but it was not necessary because the director (Atwine)“must leave office.”
“Kitaka tried to tell me to let the status quo remain but I told him no. I only want my drainage channel. There is no bribe I can solicit from Kitaba because he has nothing. I failed to cooperate with Jennifer Musisi, former KCCA Executive Director who had authority, why should I go with Kitaka who is also looking for survival?” Munyagwa added.
The COSASE chairman who says he is set to write to the Public Service Commission to terminate Atwine’s contract, alleges that it is the same director or his cohorts who might be playing the blackmail card against his integrity.
He insists that Atwine must leave KCCA because he never studied Physical Planning yet city dwellers must be assured of the quality of structures being constructed.
Munyagwa said some people are trying to blackmail him by accusing him of “witch-hunting” people from other tribes.
He vowed to resign his position as COSASE chairman if any accounting officer of a government agency or department adduces evidence where he is soliciting a bribe.
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