By Andrew Irumba
KAMPALA: Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has issued a statement amidst the ongoing investigations of top Bank of Uganda officials who were arrested for allegedly printing their own money to the tune of Shs90Bn.
It was reported that the officials had allegedly printed money off the official approved figures and the unit impounded Shs90bn as evidence. The money entered Uganda through Entebbe airport well printed and was transported using Bank of Uganda currency vans to the Central Bank but on reaching Kampala some money disappeared on streets of Kampala into circulation.
However,Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner Customs Dickson Kateshumbwa, in a statement issued today, has distanced URA from saga.
In his statement he said URA officials cleared the cargo and did nothing wrong, its Bank of Uganda officials to carry their own cross.
Kateshumbwa’s full statement reads;In April this year, URA Entebbe customs was informed by BoU of an impending Import of currency and requested to facilitate quick clearance. A private Chartered plane arrived and as normal practice, of sensitive Cargo Customs facilitated clearance of the currency of the tarmac in presence of BoU Officials, BoU security, Aviation security, Police and other security agencies.
The consignment was offloaded, inspected and loaded on BoU Vehicles and then taken to Kampala under heavy security escort.
The same plane contained other cargo which belonged to various individuals / companies / organisations. As per normal clearance procedure, this cargo was offloaded into the licenced bonds at the Airport and consequently the owners made customs declarations, paid applicable taxes and customs physically verified each consignment to ascertain a currency and consistency with the declaration and released the goods to the owners.
Each consignment had its individual airway bill. Customs was not party to the airline charter arrangements between BoU, the Airline and the other owners of the goods. It is not the responsibility of customs to concern itself in logistical arrangements of importers or exporters. Our duty is to ensure that the imported cargo through the airport is received and tallied with the Cargo Manifest, verified and is cleared in line with the customs law as established under the East African Management Customs Law Act (EAMCLA).
In this particular issue, like others, our customs staff followed the procedures to the dot and we can account for the cargo cleared fully. URA has provided the details of the information required by the investigators and we are available to offer any clarification if required.
URA should not be dragged into logistical contractual failures or mistakes of Bank of Uganda and their service provider,he said.