1 January 2013

Uganda: Baku Defends Decision to Prosecute Ministers

The deputy Inspector General of Government (IGG), Raphael Baku, has defended his decision to prosecute the three ministers who were later acquitted of charges of causing financial loss of sh14b. Baku said he did not act maliciously or out of ill will.

He says his decision to prosecute the three ministers was taken after investigations established that funds were remitted after the ministers held a meeting that committed the government into spending the money.

Justice Paul Mugamba who heard the case against ministers Sam Kutesa (foreign affairs), John Nasasira (gender) and Mwesigwa Rukutana (labour), dismissed the case, saying he found no evidence that they abused their office.

"Of late, it has become quizzically notorious of improbable cases such as this one to feature in our courts. Of course we must deal with them, but at what cost? It is costly in time, costly in resources and costly to credibility," Mugamba noted.

"I urge that care be taken to avoid sending wrong signals that would lead to sapping the fight against corruption instead," Justice Mugamba said. He added that the prosecution should scrutinise its evidence before bringing it to court.

The judge said in the ruling that there was neither evidence of the ministers committing the Government to spend money on CHOGM works at the Speke Resort Munyonyo nor were any funds lost. He pointed out that the proprietor of the Speke Resort Munyonyo, Sudhir Ruparelia, indicated in his statement that he was still waiting for negotiators over the said funds.

"It was unfortunate that sh14b was spent on private property," Baku said.

Baku was responding to accusations that the case was not properly investigated.

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