The US Treasury has frozen all assets in the United States owned by the former inspector general of Ugandan police, Kale Kayihura, accusing him of serious human rights abuses in the East African nation.
Kayihura, who served as Inspector General from 2005 to March 2018 when he was sacked by President Yoweri Museveni, was also banned from travelling to the United States. Uganda is one of the key allies of the United States in the region.
Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under-Secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, accused Kayihura of using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, while units under his command committed “serious human rights abuses”.
“The US government is committed to leveraging our human rights and corruption authorities to target, disrupt, and counter those who engage in abuse and corruption around the world,” Mandelker said.
Kayihura’s lawyer, Alison Karuhanga, told Reuters Kayihura had not seen any statements from the United States and defended his tenure.
“His command of the Ugandan Police was under Ugandan law and he is ready to answer t allegations and defend his record of leadership,” she said.
Kayihura, a general in the Ugandan military, was the longest serving head of police in the country.
While in office, he was routinely denounced by the opposition for breaking up rallies with tear gas and detaining Museveni’s opponents.
Kayihura was detained for months after he was sacked and later released on bail. He is currently being tried by a military court for allegations of illegally repatriating Rwandan refugees.