2 Ugandans demand court to suck Kuteesa over bribery accusations

By Sania Babirye
Two Ugandan Citizens have gone to the high court seeking an order to declare foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa unfit to hold a public office and consequently immediately relived of his ministerial seat and also banned from ever holding a public office for allegedly receiving a 500,000 US dollars during his one tenure as the United Nation President of the General Assembly.

The applicants including Ronald Tugume a resident of Masajja in Makindye Division Wakiso district and Sam Kyomuhendo have dragged Kutesa who is also Member of Parliament for Mawogola constituency and the government through the attorney General on grounds that they are concerned citizens who are empowered by the 1995 constitution of Uganda to defend the constitution and also hold their elect leaders accountable.

Minister Kutesa served as a UN chairperson in 2014 and was elected president of the UN general assembly during its 69th session which role he served from September 2014 to September 2015.

However, the applicants claim that they have decided to ask court to relieve Kutesa of his cabinet duties because his actions per the constitution of Uganda and the leadership code act are illegal criminal and Immoral.

That the said bribe was given by Hong Kong home affairs ministe Patrick Ho Chi Ping to Kutesa, allegedly disguised as a donation for kutesa’s alleged charity foundation and also support President Museveni’s re-election campaign despite president Museveni having already been elected in February 2016.

That the bribe was to ensure that China obtain business advantages for the energy company in its efforts to secure and contract ventures in Uganda’s financial and energy sector.

And that since then, Ho has been found guilty of giving a bribe and sentenced to three years in a court in New York USA).

Ronald Tugume who swore an affidavit claims that after reading court documents relating to the trial of Patrick Ho in Newyork (USA), it was stated that Kutesa while serving as foreign affairs minister in 2016 received the said bribe from Ho in a bid to secure business dealings in railway services, infrastructure construction, fishing, Hydro energy, banking and finance for the Chinese conglomerate.

Tugume further claim that the said bribe was paid via wire transfer from HBSC bank in Hongo Kong (China) through an intermediary HSBC, Deutche Bank in New York (USA) to Stanbic bank in Uganda in May 2016.

That Patrick Ho was found guilty after his trial in New York before US district judge Loreta Preska and sentenced to three years in prison.

That the court documents which are now public documents used in New York district further show that in or about 2016, after Kutesa had resumed his role as Uganda’s foreign affair minister, that he indeed solicited for the said bribe from Ho purportedly for charitable foundation, he wished to launch and that Ho caused the energy NGO/company to wire 500, 000 us dollars to an account in Uganda designated by Kutesa, through a New York bank.

The documents are also said to show that Ho, while being grilled over the said monies variously referred to his payment as a donation to the re-election campaign of the President of Uganda who had already been elected and as a donation to support Kutesa.

These also claim that in the said alleged court documents, Ho also promised to have the families of Kutesa and the President of Uganda future benefits, including proposing to partner in Lucrative joint ventures if Kutesa assisted the Chines energy company in obtaining businesses in Uganda and also help the said company to acquire a bank in Uganda.

That Ho emphasized that he will only pay the said bribe if their energy company is assisted in major projects from infrastructure, energy, agriculture, finance and banking in Uganda

These have now asked court to declare Kutesa unfit to hold a public office and also a permanent injunction against Kutesa to immediately vacate office of foreign affairs minister on grounds that Kutesa solicited for the said bribe and assured Ho that President Museveni would meet with china’s energy officials and that the Ugandan government will work together with the energy on various projects including the potential sale of Ugandan bank to the energy company.

And that his actions of receiving the said bribe”gift ” contravenes article 233 (2) of the constitution and that of the leadership code act of 2002 since this money was never declared to the inspectorate of Government as a “gift”.

These further claim that Kutesa’ conduct compromised his integrity which is detrimental to public good.

These also want court to declare that government’ failure to investigate and prosecute Kutesa,contravenes article 21 of the constitution that provides that all persons are equal before and under law and that all issues above are of public concern sufficiently great since Kutesa is a minister of foreign affairs.

In December 2018,the attorney general William Byaruhanga exonerated Kutesa over the bribery allegations in a preliminary report presented to parliament.

He stated that Kutesa and his wife Edith were indeed the directors of the energy foundation and that it was a legal foundation that was incorporated on the 24th of July 2015 and received the said donation from Hong Kong based NGO China Energy Fund committee(CEFC) but only to continue championing the 17 sustainable development goals that he was working upo during his tenure as UN General Assembly President.

He also told parliament that it was true that Kutesa’s name had been mentioned in the indictment and featured in the course of Ho’s trial but he was never an accused suspect.

A federal jury in New York court found Ho guilty on all eight accounts of money laundering and bribery over oil rights in Chad and Uganda for CEFC.

He apparently gave out millions of dollars to African officials to seek business favors.

While responding to the allegations, president Museveni stated that he ha heard about the allegations and directed the attorney general to investigate the said allegations but also maintained that Kutesa had informed him about the money and that it was meant for charity work.

Kadaga demands for interim report on Kutesa’s bribe scandal

By Alice Lubwama

The Speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga directs Government through the attorney general William Byaruhanga to provide parliament with an interim report into the allegations that foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa received a bribe from Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping in order to help him secure business deals in Uganda before parliament closes business on 20th of this month.

This was after Lwemiyaga county MP Theodore Sekikubo raised the matter before parliament and asked the house to take a decision in order to redeem the image of the country since Kutesa received the bribe as the foreign affairs minister of Uganda.

The MP also demanded that Government explains how money moved from Hong kong bank through united states and ended up in Uganda without the financial intelligence agency detecting this financial laundering.

In response the attorney general William Byaruhanga informed parliament how the president had asked him to investigate the matter and will share the findings with parliament in January next year. How ever the mp disagreed with the attorney general on the time frame, saying they needed the report very first.

Kadaga then ordered Byaruhanga to present an interim report before parliament breaks off for a Christmas recess.

On 6th of this month the Former Hong Kong Home Affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping was found guilty by the federal court in USA of offering millions of bribes to several African leaders including Ugandan and Chadian presidents.

According to media reports, its alleged that the total of $500,000 bribe given to Kutesa was in a bid to secure business dealings in railway services, infrastructure construction, fishing, hydro-energy, banking and finance as well as tourism for the Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co. Other potential deals for CEFC included;
construction of a Chinatown to boost tourism on land near Victoria and possibly an island.

Inter religious council warns public against corruption

By Wasswa Deo

Inter religious council of Uganda says, Ugandans who are against the lining up behind their local council leaders during forth coming elections, are not faithful and are involved in bribery.

Addressing journalists,  His Eminence, Shaban Mubajje, council president of inter religious council has noted that if somebody takes bribe from any candidate he or she will definitely fear the lining up approach  due to backlash.

He therefore calling up on Ugandans to fully take part in voting exercise by lining up at the back of those candidates whom they feel is worth to lead them

Two finance ministry officials nabbed over corruption claims

Two senior officials in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development have been arrested.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Finance Ministry Spokesperson, Jim Mugunga, says the officials were picked up in a Police operation at the Ministry headquarters this morning in relation to an ongoing investigation.

Mugunga however, falls short of mentioning the names of the officials and what the investigations are about. URN has since learnt that the affected individuals are Michael Ogwal, an Economist and Geoffrey Turyamuhika a Commissioner.

In a message on his official twitter handle, President Yoweri Museveni notes that “I have been briefed by the police about the arrest of two senior officials in the Finance Ministry who were taking bribes from investors.”

Adding that, “I thank the security agencies for acting swiftly. This is Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo and we shall be harsh on public servants guilty of corruption.”  According to information obtained from Police, the Finance ministry asked the Special Investigations Department to investigate allegations of bribery by some officials.

Police swung into action, which led to the arrest of the two officers.

 

 

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Medical intern arrested for bribery in Lyatonde

Emmanuel Mujimy, a medical intern attached to Lyantonde Hospital is in trouble for alleged bribery. The Health Committee of parliament apprehended Mujimy on Wednesday evening and handed him to police on accusations of soliciting a bribe from an expectant mother.

Trouble started when the Health Committee visited the hospital on a supervisory and monitoring tour of health service delivery to residents. During the tour, the committee interacted with some of the expectant mothers. One of the expectant mothers told the committee members that she was held behind because she had to clear a balance of Shillings 40,000.

She claimed that she had paid Shillings 60,000 to Mujimy and was left with a balance of Shillings 40,000 before she could be discharged. As a result, the Kasambya county MP, Gaffa Mbwatekamwa called up Mujimy pretending to be the husband of the expectant mother.

“I pretended to be the husband and raised the health worker who told me he would discharge the lady if I pay the balance of Shillings 40,000. I asked him to come for the money and he came running,” said Mbwatekamwa.

On interrogation, Mujimy denied receiving any money from the complainant, saying that he only wanted to meet her husband to explain the condition of his wife, who has an ectopic pregnancy.  An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus, such as in one of the fallopian tubes.

Mujimy’s explanation didn’t convince the legislators who decided to hand him over to police for further investigations. Another expectant mother, Annet Katushabe, a resident of Nshara Nyakashashara in Kiruhura district also disclosed to the committee that she had spent more than five days at the hospital without receiving any medical attention due to lack of a caretaker, mother Kit and money to pay to Doctors.

”I feel the baby moving up and down, Doctors want me to pay them first and get a caretaker before they can attend to me. I have no relative even my Husband is dead,” Katushabe said while pleading with MPs for help. Mbwatekamwa said that they had discovered that bribery is all over the hospital, adding that they would seek explanation from the Medical Superintendent Dr. Obbo Okoth.

The committee also instructed Amos Mugume, the Administrator Lyantonde hospital to evacuate the expectant mothers from the maternity ward by December 15th because of the surging ceiling, which is almost giving way.

Mugume blamed some of the problems at the hospital on poor funding and lack of sufficient manpower. Pauline Kemirembe, the Lyantonde district woman Member of Parliament, said the hospital was only elevated in name, but still offers services of a sub district hospital.

Dr. Michael Bukenya, the Health Committee Chairperson, says the Lyantonde Hospital management is dysfunction as no doctor was found on duty. He also said the hospital lacks an ultra sound scan machine, which would help in diagnosing complications among the expectant mothers.

 

 

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MP Kafeero threatens to drag Akol to Court for defamation

Robert Kafeero Ssekitoleko, the Nakifuma County MP has given the Kilak North MP, Anthony Akol two days to retract his implicating to a bribery scam.
It comes after Akol addressed the media accusing Ssekitoleko for bribing 27 legislators with Shillings 1 million each and a bag of sugar to support his controversial Constitution Amendment Bill 2016.

The bill seeks to amend sections of the constitution to increase retirement age for judges; give Electoral Commissioners an open-ended term; allow individuals and political parties to challenge the outcome of presidential elections as well as outline the role of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

While addressing the media, Akol claimed that the legislators traveled to Mayuge Sugar Factory under the guise of a trip by the Parliamentary Forum on Food Security, Population and Development, where the payments were made.

However, Kafeero says the allegations are aimed at discrediting his image and quest to table the bill. He says unless Akol retracts his claims, he will drag him to court for defamation.

According to Kafeero, his resolved to push the bill has attracted threats and intimidation from several legislators.

Efforts by URN to get a comment from Mafabi and Mugume were futile. Akol however maintains that he will table evidence before Parliament pinning Ssekitoleko.

The bill has attracted the attention of government. Recently, the Prime Minister; Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda said government will review the bill before taking a position.

Kafeero says he has discussed the matter with Dr. Rugunda but insists that he will spearhead the bill and government can make its input in Parliament.

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