President Yoweri Museveni has said government will investigate the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa over allegations that he received US$500,000 (Shs1.8 billion) to help a Chinese national secure contracts for his company in Chad.
Museveni said he recently sent Kutesa to the Attorney General to establish if the money he received was meant for a charity and whether it was delivered to the organisation.
Museveni said it was illegal for Kutesa to get money from a private company.
Chinese Patrick Ho Chi Ping whose company gave Kutesa the money was on Wednesday last week convicted on charges of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He also allegedly offered the bribe and gifts to President Museveni to secure support for CEFC China Energy, a Shanghai-based rising star in the energy industry.
Mr Ho is alleged to have wired the bribe from HSBC (Hong Kong) account of the energy Non-Government Organization (NGO) to Deutsche Bank in New York on to the account of the Kutesa’s NGO’s account in one of the main commercial banks in Uganda. Kutesa was never charged.
According to cnn.com, Ho, who pleaded not guilty, will be sentenced on March 15. He faces between five to 20 years on many of the counts he was accused of.
“Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Patrick Ho now stands convicted of scheming to pay millions in bribes to foreign leaders in Chad and Uganda, all as part of his efforts to corruptly secure unfair business advantages for a multi-billion-dollar Chinese energy company,” stated cnn.com.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended Mr. Kutesa over the bribery claims. It said that during his term as the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr Kutesa had to partner with organisations that enjoyed consultative status with the UN.
“It is 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,” the ministry wrote in November 2017, soon after reports emerged that Mr Ho had offered bribes to the minister and Chadian officials.