Ugandan government returns misappropriated funds to Ireland

 Patrick Amama Mbabazi Irish aid funding was found to have been transferred to unauthorised accounts in the office of the Ugandan prime minister

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Uganda has returned 4m euro ($5.25m; £3.26m) of misappropriated aid funds to the Irish government.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore confirmed the restitution.

He said it followed "intensive high level discussions with the government of Uganda over the last two months".

"I am satisfied that this and other steps taken by the government of Uganda send a clear signal of their commitment to bring those involved to account and to improve financial control systems."

"I believe that these measures will contribute to the government's efforts to tackle corruption."

A draft report last October by the auditor general of Uganda found that 4m euro of Irish aid funding had been transferred to unauthorised accounts in the office of Ugandan Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

The Irish Republic had suspended aid to the country until the money was returned.

Mr Mbabazi has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledges there has been "massive theft" from his office.

The UK, Norway and Denmark have also suspended aid to Uganda following the allegations.

Mr Gilmore has signalled Ireland's intention to continue supplying aid to the sub-Saharan country.

"I have now instructed my officials to examine options for a possible programme of support for the people of Uganda during 2013," he said.

"Looking to the future, we stand ready to continue to work with the auditor general of Uganda in his efforts to root out corruption, strengthen financial controls, and build robust and transparent systems of accountability."

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