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Bribery Scandal; MPs Demand Minister Kutesa Resignation

The demands came barely a week after the New York Southern District Court jury convicted Ho, a former Hong Kong Minister, of eight counts of bribery and money laundering over oil rights for Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy, in Chad and Uganda.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga chairs the afternoon plenary session where MPs demanded the resignation of Minister Sam Kutesa.

Audio 5

A section of Members of Parliament has reignited demands for the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa following confirmation that he received a hefty bribe from a Chinese businessman Patrick Chi-Ping Ho.

The demands came barely a week after the New York Southern District Court jury convicted Ho, a former Hong Kong Minister, of eight counts of bribery and money laundering over oil rights for Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy, in Chad and Uganda.

According to the complaint, Ho allegedly paid a bribe of USD 500,000 (1.9 billion Shillings) via wires transmitted through intermediary banks in the US and transferred to a Ugandan Bank. The money was later credited on the account of Food Security and Sustainable Energy Foundation, a charity managed by Sam Kutesa and his wife.

United States Federal prosecutors said that the bribe was meant to secure business advantages for the Energy Company and potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank. Ho reportedly wanted Kutesa to connect the said energy company to the president Yoweri Museveni and assist the company to obtain lucrative opportunities in Uganda's energy sector.

Kutesa reportedly committed to support the energy company to form a long term strategic partnership with Uganda, in its energy, hydroelectric and financial industries and to arrange a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni. He also expressed willingness to assist the energy company to form a partnership with Uganda, if the company intended to make investments in Uganda's four known oil fields, national bank, hydro-electricity grid and railway construction.

Yesterday President Yoweri Museveni told Journalists that he had confronted Kutesa about the allegations and that he told him that the money was for a charity organisation before directing him to get in touch with Attorney General to ascertain whether the money was for charity or not.

Today Attorney General William Byaruhanga confirmed to parliament that President Yoweri Museveni had tasked him to spearhead investigations against Kutesa. Byaruhanga said that he was set to inquire into the matter and that he would make parliament aware of the findings of his investigations.

But Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Sekikubo demanded that Kutesa steps aside as investigations are conducted.  He said that Uganda's image is in question because of the corruption allegations against the Foreign Affairs Minister Kutesa questioning why the government has not yet come out with an official statement to parliament concerning the allegations.

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Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona demanded a specific timeline when the Attorney General was to communicate his findings.

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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga directed that an interim report is presented by Attorney General before Parliament breaks off for holiday on December 20.

Jinja Municipality East MP, Paul Mwiru said that since the President is also implicated in the matter, Parliament should have its own investigation concerning the same.

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The same separate investigation was demanded by MP Sseggona.

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Kadaga said that since the matter had come up without a substantive motion, it was difficult for her to make such a directive saying that it was premature.

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