Tina boarded a taxi to Mukono, when they had just passed Seeta, the conductor turned to the passengers and asked if any of them had change for 50,000/-, Tina innocently offered to give away her changed money in exchange for the 50,000/- note. After alighting at Sombe supermarket, she went in, to do some shopping but to her surprise once at the counter, the cashier refused to accept the 50,000/- note saying it was a fake.
Bank of Uganda is the only mandated institution with authority to print, issue and destroy any currency of Uganda. However, many people like Tina and businesses, have suffered loss due to the presence of counterfeits in the market.
WHAT IS A COUNTERFEIT
Legal tender is a means of payment recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting financial obligation. In Uganda, bank notes and coins are the forms of legal tender.
Fake notes and fake coins are imitations of what is considered legal tender and are known as counterfeit currency. They have no value and are intended to pass off as genuine currency.
iN the laws of Uganda, it is a criminal offence to make counterfeit currency. It is also an offence to give out counterfeit currency, knowing that it is counterfeit.
HOW TO DETECT COUNTERFEITS
It is relatively easy to detect a counterfeit bank note if you know what to look out for. It is important to get familiar with the feel of bank notes to tell the difference when handling a suspect note since most bank notes are made from special paper with unique tactility.
According to the Bank of Uganda, some of the key features on the bank notes include:
1. A watermark and electrotype formed within the paper – When held up to the light, the crested crane image is visible. You should look for the light area near the eye and the dark area above the beak. The denomination of each banknote is also shown vertically in the electrotype form below the beak.
2. A windowed security thread running through the banknote paper – A special thread is woven into the paper. On the front it appears a silvery stripe. When held up to direct light, it appears as a continuous line and changes colour from red to green when tilted.
3. High quality paper – Members of the public report that they recognize a banknote as a counterfeit by the texture of the paper; and the fineness of the print quality on a genuine banknote is difficult for current scanning equipment to resolve properly. Intaglio printing, where thick ink lends a raised surface to the print surface, is difficult to reproduce.
4. The foil images are distinctly different for each denomination. In addition to the denomination numeral, a main pattern, Shield (50,000), drums (20,000), and pots (10,000) can be seen clearly. Moving lines around the main pattern change in a different manner on tilting the note side to side.
HOW TO AVOID RECEIVING COUNTERFEIT MONEY
When you receive money make sure you:
1. Check for the various features pointed out above. Make it a habit of checking the banknotes you receive. Many people are conscious about looking silly lifting the notes into the light or feeling for the intaglio printing, but consider how much you would be saving yourself.
2. If you receive a note you suspect to be a counterfeit while in a bank, insist on the manager (and the police) being called. And if you have received the money from a customer at work, call the police immediately.
3. If you ever get into a situation similar to Tina’s, make sure to check it, and if you suspect it is a fake, do not accept it. Simply alert the person to the fact and get it replaced. Then check even that one, always be vigilant.
4. If as you are inspecting the bank notes that have been handed to you and the person who gave it to you gets upset, keep level headed and explain that there is nothing personal involved. At the same time, do not get upset when others check the money that you hand them either.