The Independent (Kampala)

9 November 2012

Uganda: Court Acquits Foreign Affairs Minister

The Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and his other two colleagues have been acquitted by the Anti -Corruption Court on Friday morning.

The three ministers who include; Sam Kutesa, John Nasasira and Mwesigwa Rukutana were accused of causing financial loss to government during preparations for the Commonwealth meeting in Kampala in 2007.

The CHOGM meeting had attracted huge sums of donor finances that were later on misappropriated by the said ministers an act that attracted ire from members of parliament in both the political divide.

The powerful ministers in the National Resistance Movement (NRM): Sam Kutesa, John Nasasira and Mwesigwa Rukutana were asked to step aside which they complied and were later on taken to court last year by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) for reportedly convening a meeting in which they agreed to construct a harbor at Speke Resort Munyonyo.

In this case, the IGG alleged that government lost a huge sum of money that totaled to Shs14bn in the project.

However, in his ruling today, the Anti-Corruption Court Justice Paul Mugamba said prosecution failed to produce any evidence to substantiate the allegations, considering that no minutes were presented to justify that indeed a meeting was held.

Mugamba also hinged his ruling on the fact that all the 11 prosecution witnesses presented by the IGG exonerated the ministers of any wrong doing.

Analysts however, say government could have lost billions of shillings in the IGG's bogus investigation and a pre-mature attempt to bring to trial the ministers without adequate preparation and evidence.

While Kutesa chose silence after the ruling, Rukutana vowed to drag government to court for "malicious trial and damaging his reputation."

In a statement released by the trio it states that, "Today's judgement is a triumph of the truth against falsehood, a victory of justice against witch-hunt and vindication of our enduring belief in the rule of law and due process."

The three ministers in a joint statement however took time to thank President Yoweri Museveni for his trust and confidence in them saying that, "By the fact that he retained us in his cabinet notwithstanding the trumped up charges shows a high degree of trust and confidence on us," reads the statement.

Nasasira expressed joy that his tainted name had been cleared by court while hundreds of their supporters burst in tears of joy when Mugamba declared them free men.

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