Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga will tomorrow (Wednesday) rule on allegations that Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa received $500,000(about Shs1.8bn) bribe from a Chinese company- China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) to secure business favours in Uganda.
It was in November when former president of the U.N. General Assembly, Kutesa’s name was cited in a court case of United States VS Chi Ping Patrick Ho (Hong Kong’s former Home Secretary) where the latter along with Cheikh Gadio, a one-time foreign minister of Senegal allegedly bribed high-level African officials including Kuteesa who was then president, UNGA to secure business rights for a Shanghai-based energy and financial conglomerate in the oil sectors of these countries.
During the Tuesday sitting, Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality MP asked Speaker Kadaga to request minister Kutesa(in absentia) to make a personal statement on the floor of parliament about the allegations that he claimed are ‘grievous’ and taint the image of Uganda as a country.
However, before he (Karuhanga) could finish, Deputy Attorney General Rukutana Mwesigwa called him to order for raising a matter without substantive evidence.
“The source of the information quoted by the honourable, [Karuhanga] are media reports and in absentia of an official document, is it in order for this August House to rely on media reports of whatever nature?” Mwesigwa said, before Karuhanga laid on table a full copy of the court indictments.
While citing Rule 71(2) of parliament Rules of Procedure, Mwesigwa added that “the conduct of the Speaker, MPs, Chief Justice and judges of courts of judicature shall not be raised except on a substantive motion” and that it was wrong to discuss about Kutesa’s conduct even when he was not in attendance. It is on this ground Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda told the House that he is preparing a substantive motion on the “Kutesa saga” and that he will present it on the floor of parliament tomorrow.
In her statement, Kadaga said that she will need to study the court documents before she makes a ruling tomorrow.
“Honourable members give me time to study these court documents that have been laid on table and I will make a ruling tomorrow (Wednesday),” Kadaga said.
Last month, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) dismissed these bribery allegations saying that all engagements Kutesa had with a named Chinese company-CEFC and its representative Patrick Ho were official activities.
“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, institutions, or partnerships for achievements, leadership, and innovation in advancing energy for sustainable development,” Amb. Patrick Mugoya, PS ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the statement.
“Together with then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Hon Kuteesa presented the inaugural award of “Powering the Future We Want” grant to We Care Solar
On September 14, 2015, in recognition of its solar power kit for health clinics in a lightweight, durable and affordable package. The award ceremony was also attended by Patrick Ho representing CEFC… 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,” the statement reads.