Amuru aged couple loses Shs 1.6m financial savings to termites

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According to URN

An elderly couple in Amuru district are stuck with more than 1.6 million Shs in banknotes that have been damaged by termites.

Bicentina Alal, 75, and her 80-year-old husband Tito Okema have been saving money in a metal suitcase for over three years.
The couple, who live with their six grandchildren in the village of Kali-Kali in Layima subdistrict, opened their money box in June and found that the paper bills had been destroyed by termites.

The damaged notes are worth Shs 20,000 (35), Shs 50,000 (10), Shs 10,000 (36) and Shs 5,000. Some of the notes are corrupted beyond recognition. Ms. Alal said she saved her income from selling papyrus mats, dried cassava chips, cereals, mixing sticks, poultry and pets. She said they would occasionally pick up some of the money for their medication or for helping their children.
She stated that the money was in good condition until last month when they saw the metal case covered in mud. According to Alal, they were amazed when they opened the metal box hidden under their wooden bed, only to find that the money had been eaten by termites.

Her husband Okema told this reporter that with no other option, they collected the damaged notes and are now storing them in a different metal tray in the hopes that someone will come to their rescue.

Mr Okema stated that they do not have bank accounts, SIM cards, or subscribe to Saccos village, where they can keep their savings safe. When asked why they don’t have a savings account or subscribe to a group, the couple said they don’t trust anyone with their money.

“It was about a million shillings plus, the money was supposed to help me with illness and for the children. I can’t do anything now because the money has already gone. If it can be changed, I would like to be supported when I can. I have no other job, I’ve been a farmer since I was a child, ”said Mr. Okema.

Her son, Mr. Cosmas Apuke, was equally amazed when his parents revealed the damaged notes and showed URN. He noted that he has yet to find out from the Bank of Uganda whether they can replace the damaged banknotes, the serial numbers of which can be obtained from their archives.
“We tried to reach them with the advice to contact our Gulu branch to replace the banknotes. We know they don’t have a phone number and we are waiting for a good Samaritan to connect them and they will be helped, ”tweeted the currency director of the Bank of Uganda, Ms. Christine Alupo.