UK suspends Uganda aid over corruption

Allegations of embezzlement in the prime minister's office prompt suspension of development assistance worth £27m.

    Money intended to develop areas devastated by the war on the LRA has reportedly been stolen
    Money intended to develop areas devastated by the war on the LRA has reportedly been stolen

    Britain has suspended all financial aid to Uganda over a corruption scandal in which millions in donor funds were allegedly embezzled in the office of the prime minister, Amama Mbabazi.

    Britain's international development department, or DFID, said in a statement on Friday that it was suspending development assistance immediately "as a result of initial evidence" from an ongoing audit.

    Britain planned to give £27m (about $42m) to the East African country this year.

    Justine Greening, international development minister, said payments worth £11.1m ($17.6m) that were due before
    the end of the financial year had been halted.

    "Unless the government of Uganda can show that UK taxpayers' money is going towards helping the poorest people lift themselves out of poverty, this aid will remain frozen," the international development ministry said.

    "We will expect repayment and administrative and criminal sanctions."

    Inquiry sought

    Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway had already suspended aid to the office of the prime minister following claims that staff funnelled 10m euros ($12.7m) from an aid programme into private  accounts.

    Mbabazi has expressed shock over the scandal, saying it must be investigated. However, some politicians have called for an inquiry into his role in the scam.

    Uganda's auditor general reported last month that money intended to help develop areas devastated by the war against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels had been stolen.

    The report, released last month, said that the funds were lost through widespread fraud and embezzlement, with a network of officials perpetrating a scam in which some of the money was deposited into the private accounts of individuals.

    The report documented numerous cases of forgery to justify fictitious expenses, and an accountant has since been
    taken to court over the scam.

    A dozen Ugandan officials have been suspended pending investigations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.