Uganda Dismisses Kutesa Bribery Allegations

Photo: UN
Uganda's Sam Kutesa elected as the 69th President of the UNGA.

Kampala — Uganda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has dismissed reports of a multimillion dollar bribery scheme at the UN allegedly involving minister Sam Kutesa, saying all engagements he had with a named China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC), were official activities.

US authorities on Monday arrested Hong Kong's former home affairs secretary Patrick Chi Ping Ho and the ex-foreign minister of Senegal Cheikh Gadio for allegedly leading a bribery scheme on behalf of the top Chinese energy company, with some deals said to have been arranged in the halls of the United Nations.

In the Justice Department complaint, Patrick Ho and Gadio allegedly offered a $2 million bribe to the president of Chad "to obtain valuable oil rights," and a $500,000 bribe to an account "designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly."

In a statement released on Wednesday, Uganda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that all interactions and engagement which minister Kutesa had with CEFC and its representative Patrick Ho were in fulfillment of his official functions as President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) in 2014-15.

The statement said that China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) was one of several organisations that regularly participated in events and activities organized by the PGA in areas of sustainable development, particularly on gender and women empowerment, youth, energy and climate change.

"It should be noted that CEFC's collaboration with the UN, predated Hon. Sam Kutesa's tenure as PGA and has continued with successive PGAs. The organization, together with UN DESA had an initiative in which CEFC sponsored a UN Energy Grant. The grant provided US $ 1 million to fund energy-related sustainable development programs, awarded to individuals," the statement said.

"It is therefore erroneous to insinuate or infer that Hon. Sam Kutesa, from references made to him and CEFC in the said media stories, is linked to the bribery allegations."

Chad and CEFC had also denied the allegations.

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