Graft: Ugandan top officials charged

2011-10-13 14:19
Kampala - Uganda on Thursday charged three top ruling party officials, including recently resigned foreign minister Sam Kutesa, with abuse of office on charges that they allegedly misused funds meant for hosting the 2007 Commenwealth summit.

Kutesa resigned on Wednesday alongside Mwesigwa Rukutana, who was the junior labour minister and John Nasasira, who quit as the ruling party parliamentary leader, pending the conclusion of the case.

They were charged by the anti-corruption court for abuse of office and causing financial loss to the government, which they denied.

Prosecutor Sydney Asubo said the three abused "the authority of their offices, an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of the government of Uganda."

"The three irregularly convened a consultative cabinet meeting and decided that the government would fully fund the construction cost of driveways, parking areas and marina at Munyonyo Speke Resort, a decision that led to 14 billion shillings [$4.8m] loss to the government," Asubo added.

They face up to 13 years in jail if convicted.

Kutesa was also accused Tuesday by a lawmaker of receiving a bribe from Anglo-Irish Tullow Oil company to gain favours, during a charged parliamentary debate in which MPs voted to freeze any new oil deals.

In recent weeks, graft cases involving top officials have made headlines in Uganda.

Former vice president Gilbert Bukenya was freed on bail Tuesday after the anti-corruption court charged him with abuse of office for inflating the rental prices of fleets of vehicles used to ferry VIPs during the Commonwealth summit.

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