29 January 2013

Uganda: Three More Donor Nations Ask Govt to Return Funds

Norway, Sweden and Denmark have followed Ireland's lead and asked Uganda to return the money which was allegedly misappropriated by government officials.

An investigation by the Auditor General found that $13.4m (about sh35b) in aid had been diverted from the northern Uganda reconstruction programme and misappropriated by officials in the Office of the Prime Minister.

The principal accountant, Geoffrey Kazinda, has since been interdicted and charged. Scores of other officials have also been interdicted over the scam.

Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and Britain froze their aid to Uganda after the scandal was revealed.

The AFP reported yesterday that following Ireland's announcement in November that Uganda had pledged to return four million euros of Irish funds, the three Scandinavian countries have all asked to be reimbursed by the Ugandan Government.

AFP said Norway is only asking for a partial refund, since its aid was paid into a special account that made it easier to identify fraudulent transactions.

"We have asked to be repaid 23 million Kroner ($4.2m) and we have been promised that we will be refunded," AFP quoted Astrid Versto, a spokesperson for the Norwegian minister of international development, as saying.

Unlike Norway, the other countries had transferred their funds into a joint account, making it harder to trace the money, she added.

Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi last year promised that the Government would refund the stolen donor funds. Subsequently, the money from the Irish government was refunded.

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