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Suspected Of Diverting Funds

Uganda minister of tourism to face prosecution

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  May 05, 2010

The Inspector General of the government of Uganda (IGG) has confirmed that they will begin to prepare indictments towards some individuals suspected of diverting funds in the run up to the Commonwealth Summit in November 2007, following constant revelations from the parliamentary public accounts committee and interrogations of suspects by the CID officers attached to parliament. Many civil servants, business people, and government officials were implicated by the public accounts committee and accused of complicity in the misuse of funds, while the public at large was outraged that road repairs and other infrastructural measures soon after the summit began to fall apart and deteriorate with no sign of maintenance or the initial contractors being asked to fix up their shoddy work.

In fact, sources from parliament are talking of their intention to press for prosecution of very senior officials, including the country’s vice president, senior ministers including the state minister for tourism, and a range of other officials who had come to the attention of the investigators and failed to absolve themselves while answering allegations and questions from MPs. Notably, the vice president evaded the parliamentary committee – some sources suggest he defied summons – while others staged walk outs, took several summons to appear, or failed to cooperate in the eyes of committee members.

According to reports from parliament, the IGG will share the burden of prosecution with the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and court cases, according to another source close to the investigation, would likely be filed soon.

The parliamentary public accounts committee also visited the president last week at the State House in Entebbe to discuss issues surrounding their investigation and shed light on attempts by some of those questioned before the committee trying to hide behind obscure presidential directives without presenting any documentary evidence to that effect. It was made clear by the president in the meeting, that while he was not in any way involved in the procurement of goods and services for the summit, he had on several occasions guided and counseled those concerned to observe existing rules of procurement and ensure that the requirements of the Commonwealth Secretariat for holding such a summit, as laid down in the "Blue Book" were catered for. He also challenged anybody trying to hide behind any of these obscure directives to produce evidence to that effect.

The President also expressed satisfaction, that in spite of the ongoing queries and investigations, the summit overall was a success as it showcased Uganda around the Commonwealth family of nations and the world at large and subsequently increased tourism arrivals substantially. The president also commented favorably on the increase in bed capacity of the Ugandan hospitality industry, which he said was another reason why the country was now able to attract more conferences and global meetings, something not possible without having held the Commonwealth summit.

With 2010 being a pre-election year in Uganda, and the general and presidential elections now less than a year away, this saga will obviously continue to attract public attention. It is not ruled out that consensus for some prosecutions will be granted sooner rather than later to present a strong anti-corruption stand as repeatedly stated by the president to the Ugandan public at large and reiterated when meeting the parliamentary public accounts committee last week.

Read more about this issue in some rather candid articles from the local print media like the New Vision, Uganda’s leading daily via , , , and or from the Daily Monitor via .

And in breaking news just in, the vice president reportedly reacted with anger, according to Ugandan media reports, when finally meeting with the parliamentary public accounts committee yesterday, directing "words" against the chairman of the committee and the auditor general.

Read all about these latest twists in this saga via by the New Vision and in the Daily Monitor, which used particularly strong words and language when reporting about the latest developments.

Uganda minister of tourism to face prosecution
Uganda minister of tourism Serapio Rukundo / Image via

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