Ugandan officials charged with graft, freed on bail


A Ugandan court charged three ministers with corruption offences but released them on bail, a day after they resigned their positions to pave way for their trial.

Foreign minister Sam Kutesa, junior labour minister Mwesigwa Rukuta and government Chief Whip John Nasasira were charged with abuse of office and causing financial loss to government.

Munira Ali, spokeswoman for the inspector general of government, told Reuters outside the anti-corruption court in the capital Kampala the three were released on a cash bail of 40 million shillings each, Reuters reports.
“They have denied the charges … as part of their bail conditions they were also ordered to deposit their passports with the court and they’re supposed to appear again on October 24,” Ali said.

According to the inspector general, the three were responsible for the loss of 14 billion shillings while presiding over preparations to host the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Uganda spent an estimated 500 billion shillings on hosting the meeting. Opposition and critics say much of that was embezzled.

The charge sheet said the three ministers irregularly committed the government to fund construction work at a private hotel.

The east African country is plagued by widespread and growing corruption which critics blame on President Yoweri Museveni’s reluctance to punish political allies when they are accused of embezzling public funds.