Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and country’s Foreign Minister Sam Kuteza may have received a bribe of 500,000 dollars from the Energy Fund Committee, which is run by Chinese businessman Patrick Ho. This was reported by The Africa Exponent, referring to court documents in the United States.
In the US, Ho was found guilty after an annual arrest for which he was taken in November 2017. He was charged with five counts of conspiracy and attempted bribery under the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as well as three counts of money laundering involving separate schemes involving officials in Chad and Uganda.
It says that Ho tried to give a bribe to the president of Chad – Idriss Deby, with $2 million hidden in eight gift boxes in 2014. According to a testimony by Senegalese Foreign Ex-Minister, Cheikh Gadio, Deby said he would not accept the money as he did not want to be seen as corrupt. The parties then agreed to redirect the money and cast it as a donation to the people of Chad, and not a personal gift to the president. The court acquitted Ho on the money laundering charge involving the $2 million but convicted him on every other count surrounding the scheme.
Partly charges against Ho are related to an oil agreement in Uganda. The court heard that Ho offered a donation of 500 000 dollars to Kutesa’s foundation and an email to Kutesa’s wife, Edith makes reference to “mutual agreements and commitments” the donation was subject to. After the “donation” was wired to the foundation, Ho and his delegation received a VIP invitation to the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni. Photographic evidence of Ho in attendance was adduced in the court.
The court also heard that doors started opening for Ho’s CEFC in different industries. Another 500 000 dollars was to be brought in cash to Uganda under the guise of supporting Museveni’s campaign fund and a memo by Ho to CEFC’s chairman said, “It’s suggested that it would be best to give it to the President’s representative directly in the form of cash.” Ho then informed the Ugandans, via email, that he was preparing to bring “nice gifts” to the President and Minister Kutesa.
Earlier Yoweri Museveni said he miscalculated when he introduced political positions in district local governments under the impression that the move would curb corruption in the public service. He told anti-corruption activists that Uganda had been plagued by six major problems when he came to power in 1986.
These were extrajudicial murders, lack of democracy, collapse of the economy, collapse of infrastructure, poaching and corruption.