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Police stuck in bid to recover monies buried in Ivan Ssemwanga’s grave

Uganda’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) has failed to make headway in the investigations into the burying of money in Ivan Semwanga’s grave.

Detectives had opened investigations against members of the Rich Gang after they threw paper money in the grave of Semwanga in Kayunga District last week.

The six Rich Gang members under investigation are SK Mbuga, Edward Kyeyune, Lawrence Kiyingi, Cameroon Gitawo Luyinda, Meddie Ssentongo and Fred Sekyanja.

A complaint was logged by Mr Gideon Tugume at CID headquarters at Kibuli last Thursday.


The CID source familiar with the investigations said they have consulted with their legal team, which informed them that the law is silent on burying paper money.

This means the chances of police summoning the members of Rich Gang to record statements are very minimal.

According to Section 367 of the Penal Code Act, “Any person who melts down, breaks up, defaces by stamping thereon any name, word or mark or uses otherwise than as currency any silver coin current for the time being in Uganda commits a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for six months or to a fine not exceeding Shs2,000 or to both such imprisonment and fine.”

Mr Vincent Ssekate, the CID spokesman, said the law has gaps on penalising those who deface paper money, but he declined to confirm whether the case is going to be dropped.

“Detectives are still making wide consultations. We shall know their next step when they make a formal report,” Mr Ssekate said.


Last week, the central bank started the process of amending the Bank of Uganda Act to criminalise the activities of the “Rich Gang” and other people, who abuse the national currency.

In a statement, the central bank said the shilling deserves the status of a national symbol and “should not be handled in a manner that is indecorous”.

“Accordingly, the public is urged strongly to refrain from any act, conduct or use of shilling notes and coins for purposes other than those for which the national currency is intended; or in a manner that results in the defacing, soiling or damaging of the Uganda shilling currency notes and coins,” the statement reads in part.

“Bank of Uganda proposed various amendments to the Bank of Uganda Act which include a clause that will criminalise any practices such as defacing, soiling, mutilation or other forms of disrespect to the national currency. The public will be informed as and when the process of amendment is concluded,” the Central Bank stated.