BoU issues new tough rules to curb on Internal money theft

Bank of Uganda (BOU) has issued new tough rules after an internal investigation revealed a theft of old currency at its Mbale branch.

Dr Natamba Bazinzi, the acting director administration in charge of currency, said the new rules are aimed at mitigating risks and strengthen internal controls in BOU’s currency operations.

In the new rules released on September 2, indicate that no note examiner should access a counting/ machine room for another currency branch without the required authorization.

No staff other than the note examiners should participate in the counting/machine room activities such as sorting, punching and strapping of stocks. Branch managers are required to ensure that the daily CCTV recording is reviewed.

Branch managers have been ordered to immediately stop staff from carrying into counting rooms any items for personal use such as tea, water, food, juices among others. The managers are also required to remove waste buckets/boxes from the counting rooms.

The developments come in the wake of an internal investigation that revealed the theft of millions of shillings from the Mbale branch that led to the suspension of its staff.

BOU’s director of communications CharityMugumya last week confirmed the bank had commenced investigations into the conduct of staff at their branch in Mbale and that some had been asked to step aside.

“Some members of staff have been requested to step aside as investigations continue. The Mbale branch is operating normally,” Mugumya noted.

She also said contrary to media reports, no staff were arrested for ferrying out sacks of old currency notes.

“Please correct the misrepresentation created by the story,” she said in reference to an earlier story where Police sources revealed that the staff who had been caught on CCTV footage taking out bags of old currency meant to be destroyed had been briefly arrested and interrogated before being suspended.

Among those questioned included note examiners and strong room attendants. It was not, however, clear whether the case under investigation was the first of its kind or it has been a normal occurrence.

It was also not clear whether the investigations being conducted by the bank would extend to all other branches.

Two months ago, Police raided the bank and arrested five so that they help with investigations into the controversial transfer of sh350b from France after excess pallets were found aboard a chartered plane.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Directorate and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit would later investigate and three bank officials who included the director of currency, Charles Malinga Akol; Francis Kakeeto, the assistant currency director BOU Mbale branch and Fred Vito Wanyama, the verification officer, were charged with abuse of office and corruption.

The investigation later shifted the blame to Ms. Kuhne Nagel who chartered the cargo plane that was exclusively meant to carry BOU currency but instead inserted extra pallets on it without the knowledge of the bank officials.