Concerned youth have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to have minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa impeached over what they term as questionable conduct in Uganda and at international level.
Led by former Makerere University guild president David Bala Bwiruka, lawyers; Simon Peter Esomu, Henry Byansi and Martin Twomo among others argued that despite his censorship as Finance state minister over corruption in 1999, Kutesa has continued to engage in scandalous acts even as Foreign Affairs minister, tainting the country’s image.
“Hon. Kutesa was once formally censored by our parliament for corruption and has since been involved in many other scandals dating back to 1999, when he deviated public funds in connection with Uganda Airlines, the national carrier which eventually collapsed. He has been accused of deviating state funds when we hosted the Chogm [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting] in 2007 where $150m still remains unaccounted for,” the petitioners told Kadaga.
Details of a criminal bribery case being prosecuted in the United States indicate that Kutesa allegedly received a $500,000 bribe to help a Chinese firm obtain business advantages in the energy and banking sectors including potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank while serving as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
The petitioners also based on various local and international media reports in November last year where it was reported that the Justice Department of the United States of America had implicated Kutesa for successfully creating a fake charity organization with a ploy to engage in bribery and money laundering activities.
The petitioners say that contrary to principles established in the Constitution, Leadership Code of Conduct, values and aspirations of Ugandans, Kutesa conducted himself in a manner indicative of corruption tendencies and detrimental to the public good, welfare and good governance of the country.
“Shs 1.8 billion bribe was transmitted through New York to an account designated by Kutesa in Uganda. That bribe was paid on or about May 6, 2016 after Kutesa finished his term as president of the UN General Assembly,” Bala said.
“We are further concerned that through the impugned conduct, Kutesa has maligned the image of Uganda hence putting its future on cold ice. We are concerned that Uganda is now viewed as a country of greedy and egocentric people with no political will to fight corruption,” he added.
The petitioners have demanded that Kadaga, sets up a committee or refers the matter to an appropriate committee for investigations as well as moving a motion to impeach Kutesa as a Foreign Affairs minister for his dishonorable conduct.
The group also threatened to petition court should parliament not take action against Kutesa.
“We demand that this matter be taken seriously lest we shall be constrained to refer the matter to the courts of law to compel parliament to perform its constitutional oversight role over the executive,” Bala said.
Kadaga however promised to get back to the petitioners on the way forward, noting that Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga tabled the same matter before the House with similar demands.
Although Karuhanga mid last month raised a matter of national importance asking that parliament through the speaker summons Kutesa to explain to the country the role he played in the bribery case to help a Chinese energy company get unlicensed oil blocks in Uganda, Kadaga instead told the MPs to refer that issue to Financial Intelligence Authority.
"Lodge a complaint as a concerned citizen. If the offence was committed here, I would have no problem. But I have no control over another jurisdiction,' Kadaga said then.