Ugandan ministers resign amid graft claims

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iol news pic uganda president REUTERS Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

Kampala - Two Ugandan cabinet ministers resigned over corruption allegations on Thursday, bringing to six the number of ministers who have quit under a cloud following a string of graft scandals to hit President Yoweri Museveni's administration.

The two were forced to step down after a report by a parliamentary committee set up to probe allegations of corruption accused them of sanctioning an illegal multi-million-dollar payment to a businessman.

The resignations of Syda Bbumba, minister for labour, gender and social development and Khidu Makubuya, minister for general duties, were announced in parliament.

“Yes, they have resigned. They have both said they take political responsibility,” Information Minister Mary Okurut told reporters.

The report said Bbumba, who was then finance minister, directed the central bank governor to issue guarantees for the payment, while Makubuya, who was then attorney general, handled the negotiations with the businessman, Hassan Basajjabalaba.

The report by parliament's public accounts committee had recommended the duo's sacking along with that of the central bank governor for sanctioning the payment of about $62-million, which the country's auditor general said was illegal.

“All the three officials caused colossal loss to the taxpayer, they must be relieved of their duties, prosecuted and any lost monies recovered,” said Kasiano Wadri, chairperson of parliament's public accounts committee.

Parliament's website reported that Bbumba told the assembly she was innocent although she had agreed to take political responsibility and resign.

Central bank governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile denied any wrongdoing and said he would not quit.

“The governor does not accept PAC's allegations,” said the central bank's spokesperson Jan Tibamwenda in an email to Reuters.

The latest resignations mean six ministers in total have resigned in under five months.

East Africa's third largest economy has maintained a growth rate of above five percent despite global financial turbulence, but analysts say the corruption allegations are denting its potential to attract investment capital.

The opposition has led demonstrations fuelled by widespread discontent over corruption and rising prices.

Uganda's parliament is also investigating reports that three ministers, one of them current prime minister Amama Mbabazi, took bribes connected to its emerging oil sector. - Reuters

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Anonymous, wrote

IOL Comments
12:06pm on 17 February 2012
IOL Comments

These resignations are just a cover up for the president. Remember all the accussed said they acted on his order and therefore I find it insufficient for the ministers to resign when the man who ordered the hefty payments is enjoying. The Ugandan president cannot fight corruption at all. He shields the corrupt who come from his arearegion of origin while forcing others from other areas to resign. Parliament should move a motion to impeach him because he has failed Uganda and Ugandans. He has entrenched the culture of corruption and impunity.

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