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FBI Probes Gifts Given to President Museveni by Chinese Dealers :: Uganda Radionetwork

FBI Probes Gifts Given to President Museveni by Chinese Dealers

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The documents seen by URN do not, however, specify the gifts and their financial worth. It is not also clear whether President Museveni personally received the alleged gifts. However, Sam Kutesa is reported to have received a bribe of USD 500,000 1.8 billion Shillings for assisting the company to obtain lucrative opportunities in Ugandas energy sector and connecting them to the President.
21 Nov 2017 17:36
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa pictured yesterday at a meeting in Washington DC

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President Yoweri Museveni received gifts and reelection support from a Chinese company that was seeking to gain business advantage in Uganda, an investigation by Federal Bureau of Investigations – FBI has found.

The deal was reportedly brokered by Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, and his wife, Edith Gasana.

Kutesa reportedly sourced the support partly during his tenure as President of the United Nations General Assembly, during a visit to China in 2015 and subsequent correspondences that involved him, his wife and Dr Chi Ping Patrick Ho, the head of China Energy Fund Committee- CEFC, a Hong Kong-based NGO who connected them to the Chinese company.

During the visit to China, reportedly Kutesa held a meeting with an unnamed chairman of the company who promised that they were willing to avail a donation in support of the reelection campaign of the President of Uganda. President Museveni was due to seek another term of office, which he won in elections held in February 2016.

The documents seen by URN do not, however, specify the gifts and their financial worth. It is not also clear whether President Museveni personally received the alleged gifts.  However, Sam Kutesa is reported to have received a bribe of 500,000 US Dollars-- or 1.8 billion Uganda Shillings--for assisting the company to obtain lucrative opportunities in Uganda's energy sector and connecting them to the President.

In agreeing to make the payment, the FBI report states that Dr Ho emphasised that the Energy Company expected assistance from the Ugandan Foreign Minister with respect to major projects, from infrastructure, energy, agriculture, to finance and banking in Uganda.                

According to a sealed complaint that was presented to the United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York on Monday, Kutesa and his wife assured Dr Ho that President Museveni would meet with the said Energy Company on various projects, including the potential sale of a Ugandan bank to the Energy Company.

The document says Sam Kutesa's wife in an email on 24 February 2016 to Chi-Ping Patrick Ho, aka Patrick C.P stated that the election had taken place and that the President had been re-elected.

"We can now relax and program the projects we discussed with your chairman when we were in Hong Kong last August. The Uganda Foreign Affairs Minister would like in particular to catch up with you regarding his Foundation which he wishes to launch as soon as possible and would like to appreciate to receive the contribution /donation promised by the chairman," read part of the document.

Ho reportedly replied the letter on 28 February 2016 congratulating the President and Sam Kutesa upon reelection. He then asked Kutesa and the wife to invite the Energy Company's Chairman for President Museveni's inauguration.

"We want to reconnect and catch up with you and renew our friendship as well.” With respect to the requested payment, Ho wrote, "I think it would be a wonderful gesture if an invitation could be sent to the Chairman to be a VIP guest at the inaugural or similar ceremony when the President ascends into a new term, with a note of thanks to the Chairman for the support which he will then make good," reads the document.

The documents indicate that the Kutesas finally arranged for the Energy Company's officials to attend the President's inauguration on 12 May 2016.

“On May 8, 2016, Ho emailed Gasana, the wife to Sam Kutesa, stating that the Chairman was sending "his most able deputy and general managers" to Uganda and that Ho had "been asked to lead the team which is empowered to represent the Company," the report reads.

Ho continued, “We are looking forward to discussing in details in confidence about the various ways we can bring our two countries together through joint ventures and development, and also look forward to meeting and discussing with the President how can play a major role in the future development of Uganda."

On the same day, an Energy NGO employee emailed Ho, stating that “Shanghai wants us to suggest what kind of gift to carry for the President, the Foreign Affairs Minister, the Ugandan Ambassador to China and any other for spare. Ho replied, suggesting that they meet the next day.  The report is silent about the kind of gifts they settled for after the meeting.

On or about May 9, 2016, the employee emailed the Ugandan Foreign Minister and his wife, copying Ho and another person, describing the delegation's travel plans and stating that Ho would be presenting two gifts to President and the Ugandan Foreign Minister.     

In another email sent on the same day to Grace Gasana, copying Kutesa, Ho, and one other person, the employee stated, "This is the first time to bring the business people to the capital of Uganda.  Both the Chairman and Ho highly expect the delegation to meet some key persons at energy and financial sectors."

On May 9, 2016, Ho emailed an individual, copying the Ugandan Foreign Minister's wife, with the subject line, "Urgent request." Ho stated, "As we are about to board the plane to Uganda, we are preparing to bring with us some very 'nice' gifts to your President and to the Ugandan Foreign Minister to celebrate the occasion. We shall require special assistance with your customs procedure. Please assist in whatever way you can otherwise we will have to make other plans."

After sending this email, Ho forwarded the email to the Ugandan Foreign Minister.  The Ugandan Foreign Minister's wife then replied to Ho, "We will be there at your arrival."

The FBI report says that Ho and Energy Company executives travelled to Uganda and reportedly brought gifts for the President and the Foreign Affairs Minister, and attended private meetings with the President and other high-level officials, including officials with the central bank and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, in an effort to secure business for the Energy Company. They also attended the Presidents inauguration on May 12.

The report also makes reference to multiple emails, some of which were also addressed to individuals at the Energy Company. These emails attached photographs that appear to reflect meetings and events that Ho and others attended during their trip to Uganda.

“Based on these emails and photographs, I have learned that during the trip, among other things, Ho and Energy Company executives attended private meetings with various Ugandan government officials, including the President of Uganda, the Ugandan Foreign Minister, and officials with the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development,” FBI Special Agent Thomas P. McNulty said in his report.

One photograph, for example, shows Ho and others examining a map of Ugandan oil fields. Certain photographs also reflect that Ho and his delegation provided gifts to the President of Uganda and to the Ugandan Foreign Minister and his wife.

The FBI report shows that after returning from his trip to Uganda, CHI-PING PATRICK HO Communicated with the Ugandan Foreign Minister and his wife regarding forming a partnership between the Energy Company and the "family businesses" of the Ugandan Foreign Minister and the President of Uganda in order to acquire the Global Bank's Africa subsidiary.

On or about May 15, 2016, Ho sent an email to a person coded CC-1 with the subject line, "Main points of Uganda possibilities." Ho set forth various investment opportunities for the Energy Company including among others, developing an Energy Industrial Park, construction of an airport, Constructing a second refinery, Infrastructure development projects like building  roads and high speed rails, the possibility of acquiring the Global Bank,  and revamping Uganda Airlines.

According to one of the emails referred to by the FBI, the president reportedly agreed to give the company a piece of land by the lake, or an island in the lake to develop into a resort area with hotels, shopping centers, casino, recreation parks, and a China-Town; boosting tourism from China."

On May 16, 2016, the coded CC-1 emailed the Chairman Account, copying Ho and attaching two documents. Based on the FBI review, of a draft translation, one of the attachments was a report from Ho to the Chairman summarising the trip to Uganda.         

In the report, Ho stated, among other things, that the meeting at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development included a discussion of issues related to the distribution and development of [Ugandan] oil industry, especially that of oil exploration, bidding, oil pipeline construction and the refinery.

Ho was yesterday charged alongside the former foreign minister of Senegal Cheikh Gadio, with bribing high-level officials to help a Chinese oil and gas company to gain business advantages in Uganda and Chad.

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