Africa

Uganda ministers deny corruption allegations

Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa Image copyright AFP
Image caption Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa is accused of abuse of office

Uganda's Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and two other officials have denied corruption charges.

Mr Kutesa, chief whip John Nasasira and junior labour minister Mwesigwa Rukutana appeared in court a day after they resigned.

They are accused of abuse of office as well as financial loss over the 2007 Commonwealth summit in Uganda, in which scams allegedly cost some $150m (£95m).

Former Vice-President Gilbert Bukenya was charged in July.

He denies that he benefited from a $3.9m deal to supply cars used to transport dozens of heads of state during the summit.

Mr Kutesa was also accused on Monday of taking large bribes from UK-based Tullow Oil.

The minister and the company strongly denied the allegation.

'New marina'

In court, prosecutor Sydney Asubo said the three had cost the government 14bn shillings ($4.8m; £3.1m).

"The three irregularly convened a consultative cabinet meeting and decided that the government would fully fund the construction cost of driveways, parking areas and marina at Munyonyo Speke Resort," he said.

They face up to 13 years in jail if convicted, reports the AFP news agency.

Some MPs from Mr Bukenya's Buganda ethnic group had accused the government of selective justice by failing to prosecute anyone else.

Last week, the Inspectorate of Government - the body charged with fighting corruption - said Mr Kutesa, Mr Nasasira and Mr Rukutana would be charged.

President Yoweri Museveni said on Wednesday that the three officials had chosen to resign.

"That's their decision because what we want is the truth," he told a news conference.

Mr Museveni sacked Mr Bukenya in May as part of a cabinet reshuffle.

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