By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: City businessman Charles Mbire has finally spoken out about the ongoing investigation into allegations that Bank of Uganda officials were recently arrested for allegedly printing Ugandan currency in excess of Shs90Bn.
Mbire’s name has been doing rounds in the media as one of the people who had cargo on the BoU chartered plane which was meant to fly 20 pallets of printed Ugandan currency into Uganda, but on reaching Entebbe Airport, it turned out that the plane had 25 pallets, which sparked off the investigation. While issuing a statement about the investigations into the BoU saga, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo revealed at the Uganda Media Centre that the focus of investigation is not on excess money as the police had alleged, but on the extra cargo that was carried on the the BoU chartered plane. Ofwono named tycoon Charles Mbire, the United Nations, plus other organisations and individuals who had the extra cargo loaded on the BoU chartered plane. However, in response to all the allegations flowing from all corners, Mbire, has through his lawyers of Sebalu and Co. Advocates issued a statement about the whole saga, which reads thus;
“We represent Mr. Charles Mbire (Our client) and refer to various misleading news reports regarding our client’s alleged involvement in the importation of currency cargo by Bank of Uganda. Our Client notes, with concern, that both print and online media reports of the incident contain headlines and other disparaging innuendos in the text of reports which seek to portray our client as a dishonorable and fraudulent business person….” The Statement adds that “In terms of the incident itself, our client clarifies that he purchased adhesives, paint related material and spare parts for his boat while in London, England. The entire package (weighing 28 kilograms) was handed over to Nexus Cargo Handling Limited- a cargo handling company based in Middlesex, England, and arrangements were made to for transportation of our client’s cargo to Entebbe Uganda, under airway bill number 574-32534305. The sole reason as to why special case delivery arrangements had to be made for our client’s package is that adhesive material is classified as hazardous because adhesives contain solvents that are toxic and most are flammable. For this reason, it was unsafe for our client’s package to be transported using traditional delivery channels.” Mbire also argues in his statement that he was not in any way privy to Kuehne + Nagel International, which delivered his package and that of BoU. He also notes that Oberthur Fiduciaire, the company that prints Bank of Uganda currency notes, did not lodge any complaints of excess money being printed. Mbire thus asserts that all the reports going on about the matter are very defamatory and aim at tarnishing his person and reputation. He has even threatened to drag to court any individual or media publication(s) that continues to perpetrate the same misleading information.