US Bribery Allegations: Minister Kutesa Says he is Not Under Travel Ban

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sam Kutesa, yesterday told Parliament that he is free to travel anywhere in the world, contrary to claims that a travel ban had been imposed on him.

Mr Kutesa was responding to queries by Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala, who tasked him to explain his status and fate globally given the unresolved international bribery saga hanging over his head.

“Are you free to move? Because we keep hearing a lot of stories, so clarify as whether you are in position to move freely,” Mr Ssebaggala told Mr Kutesa.

It has been widely speculated that Mr Kutesa is a wanted man in the wake of media reports that he was implicated in a $500,000 (Shs1.9b) illegal payment from a Chinese national in exchange for business favours in Uganda.
However, Mr Kutesa told the MPs that he is a free man with unhindered movement “anywhere in the world.”

“Let me tell you that the meeting of this committee (foreign affairs) was postponed last week because I was in Brussels,” he said.
“I am not under any threat, I travel wherever it is to do my work,” he added.

Mr Kutesa did not, however, make mention of the scandal in which he is alleged to have received huge sums of money from a Chinese who intended to do business in Uganda.

The New York court in the United States in December last year convicted Hong Kong’s former Home Affairs Secretary Patrick Chi-Ping Ho, 69, for allegedly offering bribe payments of Shs1.9b each to Mr Kutesa and President Museveni in 2016.

In the same month, Mr Museveni said Mr Kutesa would be investigated with a view of ascertaining the allegations.

However, he said the minister had explained to him that the money was meant for charity.

“He [Kutesa] told me that the money was for a charity; this is a question of fact. I have told him to be in touch with our Attorney General to cross-check; was this money for the charity or it was for him?” Mr Museveni said.
A preliminary report to Parliament by the Attorney General, Mr William Byaruhanga, cleared Mr Kutesa of any wrongdoing, and there is no clear time frame in which the final report will be presented.

(Source: NTV)

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