By Christine Alupo
There have been some stories in the media recently alleging that Bank of Uganda “hid” money on a “secret” foreign bank account.
These stories misrepresent some of the information that was provided in testimony by the Bank of Uganda (BoU) before the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on August 2, 2017.
The Bank was appearing before COSASE to respond to issues that had been raised by the Auditor General arising from routine end of financial year audits covering three financial years starting from 2013/14 forward.
One of the issues that had been raised pertained to a dormant trust account held in Deutsche Bank in Germany that had not been reflected in the books of the Bank of Uganda. I wish to clarify the facts around this case for the benefit of the public.
In carrying out its role as Banker to Government, the central bank opens and executes authorized transactions on Government accounts both domestically and internationally.
The account in reference was opened on December 17, 2003 on the instructions of Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) in the Deutsche Bank in Germany. The purpose of the account was to receive proceeds from the sale of shares in DFCU Bank by a German company called Deutsche Entwicklungs Gesellschaft (DEG), which until then had been a shareholder in DFCU Bank. The funds had been designated as a grant to the Uganda Government.
During the process of preparing the annual statements for the financial year 2013/14, Bank of Uganda classified the DEG account as dormant, and accordingly informed the Accountant General in September 2013.
From the time the matter of dormancy was raised, it was handled between the BoU and MoFPED in line with procedure related to dormant accounts.
Consequently, authorization to close the account was given by the Accountant General, and in February 2015, the funds were transferred to the Consolidated Fund. The amount transferred was UGX 10,799,947, 297. The equivalent in Euros was EURO 3,354,089.54.
It is, therefore, erroneous and misleading to claim that the Bank of Uganda ‘hid’ the funds in a ‘secret’ foreign account.
The writer is Director Communications Bank of Uganda