Bank of Uganda has transferred several staff at its currency centres across the country in a move authorities say seeks to mitigate risks and strengthen internal controls in the currency operations.
The bank maintains nine branches and currency centres in various locations around the country, whose purpose is to store, process and monitor the supply of currency to the government and private financial institutions in the surrounding cities, towns, and villages.
The branches also ensure that new banknotes are circulated in all the geographical regions of the country.
Explaining the new transfers, Ms Angela Kasirye Katete, the deputy director, corporate affairs, who is currently acting as the director of communications, yesterday confirmed what she called “normal transfers” but did not disclose the names of the affected people since some officials rejected the transfer.
“On the issue of staff [transfers] in the currency department, staff transfers are a normal undertaking at Bank of Uganda and are carried out from time to time as provided for in BoU’s regulations and human resource policies,” Ms Katete’s email reads in part.
Currency department, according to Bank of Uganda website, is responsible for the designing and ordering of banknotes and coins to meet the country’s demand; this is one of the main functions of the department.
The staff transfers, however, came after BoU issued new rules regarding access of cash rooms at currency centres whose unspecified cash was reportedly stolen at its Mbale centre.
The guidelines were issued early this month after they suspended some staff at the centre following allegations that some of them were arrested by security operatives while trying to sneak out old notes.
Ms Katete explained then that there were allegations of pilferage involving cancelled stock at Mbale Regional Branch and that the Bank was conducting internal investigations to ascertain the veracity of the allegations.
“BoU instituted internal investigations into the currency operations at Mbale Regional Branch and these are in advanced stages. When completed the Bank will take the necessary steps accordingly,” she said.
Under the new guidelines, note examiners acquire permission to access another currency branch other than the one they work for.
Currency centres have also been ordered to review daily CCTV records and to ban food and drinks in counting rooms, among other guidelines.
Sources told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that after BoU Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile sanctioned the transfers in consultation with the board members, he instructed Ms Mary Katarikawe, the executive director for operations, and Dr Natamba Bazinzi, the assistant director of administration at the currency department, to effect the transfers and communicate to the affected staff.
The central bank runs currency centres in Kampala, Arua, Fort Portal, Gulu, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Mbarara and Mbale.
For instance, in Kampala, six officials have been transferred to upcountry currency centres.
The BoU staff from currency centres in Arua, Gulu and Mbale, among others have also been affected.
Mr Mutebile on February 7, 2018, effected staff appointments and transfers at various levels of management.
Parliament gave BoU the right to issue banknotes and coins in the country. The bank also ensures that sufficient currency is readily available to meet demand. It is, however, the responsibility of the currency department, according to BoU website, to ensure that there is always an adequate stock of banknotes and coins available in all denominations and that there is a good distribution system to reach the various sectors of the economy.