By Andrew Irumba
Senior management at Bank of Uganda has announced an abrupt transfer of staff in its nine currency centres across the country.
Angela Kasirye Katete, the deputy director, corporate affairs, who is currently the acting director of communications, announced the changes on Thursday and said this is normal procedure.
However, she did not divulge details about the transfers like who has been posted where, although she confirmed that transfers had been announced.
Katete revealed in an email communicating the changes that “…On the issue of staff transfers in the Currency Department, staff transfers are a normal undertaking at Bank of Uganda and are carried out from time to time as provided for in BoU’s regulations and human resource policies.”
According to Bank of Uganda website the Currency Department is responsible for designing and ordering of banknotes and coins to meet the country’s demand for currency.
The Department also runs Currency Centres which store, process and monitor the supply of currency to the government and private financial institutions across the country.
The branches also ensure that new banknotes are circulated in all the geographical regions of the country.
However, it has been established by investigators into the current mess at BoU that staff at these Currency Centres (branches) run by the Currency Department are full of corruption, engage in dubious dealings which include but are not limited to smuggling money out of the Bank’s coffers into the economy.
Thus the abrupt transfers, insiders revealed to our Spy, aim at checking and strengthening internal controls in the currency operations, to curb the vice of staff enriching themselves by stealing money.
Indeed recently several BoU staff at the Mbale currency Centre were nabbed with sacks of money they were trying to smuggle out of their offices.
It later emerged that for a long time BoU staff had been conniving with cleaners to smuggle old currency notes meant to be shredded out of the Bank’s offices disguising the money as garbage.
As another measure of safeguarding against the theft of money and other corruption tendencies BoU also recently issued new regulations restricting access cash rooms at Currency Centres across the country and especially at the Mbale Centre.
Actually some staff at the BoU Mbale branch were suspended and while commenting about the scandal Katete said that “BoU instituted internal investigations into the currency operations at Mbale Regional Branch and these are in advanced stages. When completed the Bank will take the necessary steps accordingly,”
Bank of Uganda has been battling a litany of problems ever since Legislators on the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) started investigating operations of senior officials and staff of the Central Bank.
COSASE is currently investigating BoU about the dubious closure and sale of six commercial banks, among them Crane Bank.
As if that’s not enough, BoU is also supposed to pay over Shs30Bn in legal costs and damages after they lost case they filed at the high court commercial division on behalf of Crane Bank, accusing tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia of having allegedly siphoned Shs397Bn from Crane bank, before BoU closed and sold it to dfcu Bank.