Ugandan President promises to punish corrupted top officials if evidence sufficient

November 25, 2010 11:51 am 

MOROTO, Uganda, Nov. 25 — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni promised voters on Wednesday to take action on high- ranking officials implicated in funds misuse scandals, claiming there are no 'untouchables' in his administration.

Addressing a campaign rally for his bid to secure the fourth elected term here, Museveni said that there are no untouchables in the government in the fight against corruption.

Uganda's Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa and Security Minister Amama Mbabazi, are among those implicated by Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) for abuse of more than 500 billion Ugandan shillings (about 270 million U.S. dollars) meant for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Kampala.

"There is nobody who is untouchable in Uganda. The problem is proof. If the truth is there, then we shall punish them," said the 66 year old Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986.

"The struggle is to improve investigations," he added, noting that it cannot be ruled out that the CHOGM scam allegations are politically motivated.

PAC, which investigated the 2007 CHOGM expenditure, recommended in its May report to Parliament that the vice president, several ministers and other government officials be prosecuted for corruption.

In its 147-page report tabled to Parliament in May, PAC faulted Bukenya for alleged influence-peddling when he reportedly ordered the construction of a road to his hotel in Garuga, off Entebbe Road, using CHOGM funds.

Bukenya was also accused of conflict of interest in the controversial purchase/leasing of BMW cars used to transport heads of state who attended the summit.

Parliament last week cleared Amama Mbabazi and Fred Omach, state minister of finance for general duties accused of diverting 5 million dollars from the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology for the purchase of a "walkie-talkie" system.

The debate in the house made several donors to cut the aid by 10 percent in August for the government's failure to take action.

The donors that jointly finance Uganda's budget comprise the World Bank, the European Commission and the governments of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain.

Meanwhile, Museveni has ordered for an immediate investigation into the misuse of funds meant for development of northeastern Uganda, also commonly known as Karamoja.

He said the government has been sending a lot of funds for development programs of the lawless semi arid region known for cattle rustling and illegal guns but there was nothing seen on the ground.

Museveni revealed that the team will be headed by his wife Janet Museveni who is also the state minister for Karamoja affairs and MP for Ruhaama county in the western district of Ntungamo.

"We are going to investigate what this money did. If there is no work on the ground, we shall cut off somebody neck," said Museveni. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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