Bank of Uganda (BoU) has frozen all the bank accounts belonging to ActionAid Uganda, a Non-Governmental Organisation operating in the country, following a police investigation over alleged money laundering.
All the five accounts including a Uganda Shillings account, US dollar, Pound Sterling and two Euro accounts are held at Standard Chartered Bank.
In a letter dated October 3 to the Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited, Mr Louis Kasakende, the Deputy Governor BoU explains that the Criminal Investigation Directorate (CID) of the Police is investigating Action Aid International Uganda for alleged conspiracy to commit a felony and money laundering.
Mr Kasekende listed five bank accounts belonging to the NGO held at Standard Chartered Bank which Police CID is investigating.
Pursuant to section 110 of the Financial Institutions Act, 2004, Mr Kasakende directed Standard Chartered Bank to freeze all the listed accounts. "The accounts in question shall remained frozen until otherwise advised by Bank of Uganda," reads part of the letter.
Mr Arthur Larok, the country director ActionAid Uganda, has confirmed that all their accounts have been frozen. He described the act as unfortunate and erroneous.
He asked the public to treat the allegations against ActionAid with the contempt they deserve. "Anyone with the slightest of understanding and knowledge about ActionAid's work would know that the reality cannot be any farther from the truth". He added: "We shall push back, together with our numerous partners the sad trend in our country that the allegations against ActionAid symptomise".
On September 19th, Police raided ActionAid Uganda offices in Kampala, where they conducted a cordon and search operation. Police accessed and searched computer accessories, mobile handsets, money transfer related documents and bank related transaction documents, taking away some of them.
A similar operation was conducted on Great Lakes Initiative for Strategic Studies (GLISS). The police raids came at the height of protests against plans by the ruling NRM party to repeal Article 102(b) of the constitution that puts a cap of 75 years on presidential candidates.
Police accused the organisations of funding illegal activities with the aim of destabilizing government.
A private members Bill pushing for the removal of age limits is now before the Legal Affairs committee of parliament for scrutiny.