In a bid to salvage its image amidst scandals implicating top officials in theft of money, the management of the Central Bank has issued stringent procedures to regulate access to sensitive areas in premises housing upcountry currency centers.
According to a memo written by the acting director currency at BOU Mr. Bazinzi Natamba, access to Currency counting rooms at the Currency branches has been further tightened, to reinforce security and supervision. In the memo, new security precautions have been issued to all staff.
Dated 02 Sept 2019, the memo directs that no Note examiner should access a Counting/Machine room of another Currency branch without the required authorization.
It also directs that no staff other than Note examiners should participate in the counting room activities such as sorting, punching and strapping of stocks.
Daily CCTV recordings are to be reviewed regularly, and all waste buckets/boxes in counting rooms must be removed with urgency. As that is not enough, food and drinks such as tea, juices or water are now banned from Currency counting rooms.
According to BOU management, the move is meant to mitigate risks and strengthen internal controls in currency operations.
The new development comes amidst investigations on reports showing that currency branch staff stole sacks of money from a Currency branch in Mbale. It was later confirmed that large sums of money which were worn out and supposed to be punched were instead stolen from the strong room last week, culminating into suspension of all staff at Mbale Currency centre as investigations proceed.
This also comes months after a launch of investigations into an extra cargo was “mysteriously” loaded on a BOU chattered plane that ferried new printed notes into the country. The investigations have since been extended to currency centers in Mbale, Kabale, and Fort Portal.
Reports indicate that the investigations are partly probing whether the heads of currency centers had prior knowledge on five extra pallets that were on board a chartered plane accompanying newly printed UGX notes.