By Our Reporter
Government has said, Hon. Sam Kutesa was or is not an accused or suspect in any criminal matter, closed or ongoing.
“Before the request by Parliament, I had been directed by H.E. the President to investigate the same matter. The main purpose of my investigation was to consider and assess any relevant legal aspects pertaining to the matter with a view to tendering appropriate legal advice to the Government,” the Attorney General William Byaruhanga said.
Byaruhanga was presenting an Interim Report on allegations of bribery against Hon. Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
On December 11, 2018, he was required by Parliament to prepare and present to the August House an interim report on allegations of bribery that have been made against Hon. Kutesa, in the course of the trial of a Chinese national called Chi Ping Patrick Ho in the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York between November 2017 and December 2018.
Byaruhanga added that a part of his methodology, he obtained, studied and internalized the actual indictment papers for Mr. Ho, saying that he also asked Hon. Kutesa to explain himself in writing, which he did on December 17, 2018.
In addition, since the allegations relate[d] to international transfers of cash, he requested the Financial Intelligence Authority to provide him with information on the wire transfer(s) referred to in the indictment against Mr. Ho. He also requested Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, the bank through which Hon. Kutesa is said to have received the payment under question, to provide information on the transaction.
He explained that he is happy to report that the three institutions have been quite cooperative and this is the information I have obtained so far: Mr. Ho was convicted by the aforementioned US Court on December 4, 2018.
Charges against his co-accused, a one Cheikh Gadio from Senegal, were dropped in September 2018, while it is true that Hon. Kutesa’s name is mentioned in the indictment and featured in the course of the trial, he was or is not an accused or suspect in any criminal matter, closed or ongoing, adding that Kutesa and wife Edith G. Kutesa, are Directors in a company limited by guarantee known as Food Security and Energy Sustainability Foundation. The Foundation is a lawfully registered Ugandan entity, incorporated in July 24th, 2015. It’s alleged that the Foundation received a sum of US$ 499,993 on 9th May 2016 from a Hong Kong-based NGO known as China Energy Fund Committee.
The money was a donation to the Food Security and Energy, Sustainability Foundation which Hon. Kutesa and his wife started as a vehicle for enabling Hon. Kutesa to continue to champion some of the causes he had spearheaded during his tenure as the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations with respect to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The pursuit of such causes by Presidents of the General Assembly upon leaving office through Foundations is an established tradition. Indeed, Hon. Kutesa was introduced to China Energy Fund Committee, which had a consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, which status pre-dated his tenure as the President of the General Assembly.
He assured the Members is still carrying out investigation into the matter and to engage with various other agencies and he expects to render a full report to H. E. the President within a period of eight weeks.