Uganda: Govt Approves 960m/= for GF Investigation

Hussein Bogere | 01 Feb 2007
Monitor (Kampala)

The government has given a green light for Police to investigate individuals alleged to have misappropriated the Global Fund to fight malaria, tuberculosis and Aids.

About Shs960 million has been approved to facilitate the investigation.

Ruhakana Rugunda, the Internal Affairs minister, told Daily Monitor that the money was approved at Cabinet's latest sitting last Wednesday. "The Auditor General, the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions are ready to carry out the remaining investigations. Shs960 million was approved for the investigations in every district," Dr Rugunda said on Wednesday.

The approval of the money follows the adoption by Cabinet of a White Paper on the findings and recommendations by the Justice James Ogoola commission of inquiry. Cabinet adopted the paper and assigned roles to various committees for further investigation.

The inquiry followed alleged mismanagement of the funds, leading to a temporary suspension of all grants worth about $200m in 2005 by the GF Secretariat. At the centre of the scam were then health minister Jim Muhwezi, his two deputies Mike Mukula and Alex Byamugisha and the coordinator of the Project Management Unit Tiberius Muhebwa among others.

The Ogoola commission recommended that the ministers undergo further questioning with a view to prosecute them for perjury and causing financial loss.

There are over 300 cases to be investigated by the Criminal Investigations Directorate.

"The investigations are to be completed within six months. Those that require prosecution will go ahead," Dr Rugunda said.

Daily Monitor has learnt from CID sources that the investigations had failed to take off because the government had not yet released funds. Police sources said they were still waiting for funds from the government for the Global Fund investigations.

However, the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura said there was no problem with the investigations. "We are still in the preparatory stages, planning on how to go ahead with the investigations," he said.

But Dr Rugunda who said it could have been more of an administrative process rather than a money problem.

Justice Ogoola requested for an invitation of the British Serious Fraud Squad to help in the investigations, an invitation that was granted. The British Department for International Development funded the process.