Kutesa bribery: MPs say, government investigation can’t be trusted

Members of Parliament have raised doubts that the Attorney General, William Byaruhanga  can ably investigate Foreign Affairs Minister also Mawogola South MP Sam Kutesa over his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal involving a former Chinese Minister Chi Ping HO and China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC China).

Kutesa and President Yoweri Museveni allegedly received $500,000 each from the Chinese firm that was eying investment opportunities in Uganda.

Byaruhanga on Tuesday told Parliament that he had been instructed by Museveni to investigate Kutesa but MPs argued that since the same allegations came up against the President, there is no way the Attorney General can investigate his boss.

Jinja Municipality East MP Paul Mwiru suggested that the best way forward is for instituting a Parliamentary select committee to investigate the allegations other than Parliament having to rely on a report by the Attorney General who could be conflicted given the fact that the President was also implicated in the case.

President Museveni on Monday told journalists that he had instructed the Attorney General to investigate the circumstances under which Kutesa received $500,000 (Shs 1.9 billion) from a Chinese national Chi Ping Patrick Ho who was last week convicted of bribery and money laundering.

The Chinese was found guilty by a US judge in New York of trying to bribe the Chadian President Idriss Deby with $2 million plus Kutesa and Museveni whom he gifted with $500,000.

Museveni on Monday said Kutesa had admitted to receiving money from Ho but claimed that the money was intended for a charity organization.

Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo wondered why Kutesa was still holding his ministerial portfolio in the midst the allegations involving colossal sums of money yet Herbert Kabafunzaki, former State Minister of Labour was instructed by the President to resign over a Shs 5 million bribery allegation.

“Now the image of the country is way down, and I am surprised that government hasn’t deemed it credible to present a statement. Can we know the fate of Kutesa,” Ssekikubo said.

“Can we request that we go by rules and precedent? The Minister should step aside and allow for thorough investigation to take place. Government should tell us how the money moved and got wired to Stanbic without detection from the Financial Intelligence Authority,” Ssekikubo added.

Byaruhanga pleaded for patience, promising to table before Parliament the findings of his investigation in January.

Kadaga however directed him to present the report before Parliament breaks off for the Christmas recess on December 20 but Byaruhanga was non-committal.

Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona and Mwiru however doubted Byaruhanga capability to handle the matter.

“Wouldn’t be fair for Kutesa to be investigated by his own peers, this man is perennially absent in the house, may you find it within your powers to summon him to appear before us?” Sseggona asked Kadaga.”