By our reporter
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has finally spoken out following the recent bribery allegations leveled against the ministry boss Sam Kutesa.
The ministry has downplayed the claims saying the minister has never gotten involved in the alleged corruption scandal.
Early this week, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa was named as a recipient a $500000 (about Shs1.8Billion) bribe from executives at a Chinese energy and financial conglomerate.
Authorities in New York last week arrested Patrick Ho, a former Home Secretary of Hong Kong and Cheikh Gadio, a former foreign minister of Senegal, who are accused of bribing Minister also former President of the United Nations General Assembly Kutesa and President of Chad Idris Debby in exchange for lucrative business opportunities in Chad and Uganda for the Shanghai-based energy and financial conglomerate.
According to Patrick S Mugoya, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, the minister only interacted and engaged with China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) officials to fulfill his official functions as President of the UN General Assembly.
Amb. Mugoya says its erroneous to insinuate or infer that the minister got involved in the bribery scandal.
“It is therefore erroneous to insinuate or infer that Hon. Sam Kutesa, from references made to him and CEFC in the said media stories, is linked to the bribery allegations,” he noted.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs full statement;
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda would like to respond to stories in the media associating Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sam Kutesa, to an ongoing case involving an official of China Energy Fund Committee, Dr. Patrick Ho and a former Foreign Minister of Senegal, recently arrested in New York on allegations of bribery.
In the course of his work as President of the General Assembly (PGA) of the United Nations during its 69th Session in 2014 – 2015, Hon. Sam Kutesa interacted and engaged with numerous organizations including, civil society, media and private sector. This engagement, a role undertaken by all the Presidents of the General Assembly, is necessary for promoting the core objectives of the UN in the areas of development, peace and security as well as human rights.
One of the key priorities that Hon. Sam Kutesa focused on as PGA was the post-2015 development agenda. It was during his tenure that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was negotiated and concluded. The PGA convened a number of High-Level Thematic Debates, including one on mobilizing means of implementation for the post-2015 Development Agenda.
Working closely with the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), he engaged with a number of Non-Governmental Organizations which have consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
These organizations regularly participated in events and activities organized by the PGA in areas of sustainable development, particularly on gender and women empowerment, youth, energy and climate change. One such organization, which was recommended by UN DESA, was the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) which has consultative status with ECOSOC.
It should be noted that CEFC’s collaboration with the UN, predated Hon. Sam Kutesa’s tenure as PGA and has continued with successive PGAs. The organization, together with UN DESA had an initiative in which CEFC sponsored a UN Energy Grant. The grant provided US $ 1 million to fund energy-related sustainable development programs, awarded to individuals, institutions, or partnerships for achievements, leadership, and innovation in advancing energy for sustainable development.
The PGA participated as a member of a High-level Steering Committee responsible for the selection of candidates for the UN Energy Grant. The Advisory Council was chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for UN DESA.
Together with then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Hon. Sam Kutesa presented the inaugural award of “Powering the Future We Want” Grant to We Care Solar, on September 14, 2015, in recognition of its solar power kit for health clinics in a lightweight, durable, and affordable package. The award ceremony was also attended by Dr. Patrick Ho representing CEFC.
The Ministry is providing this background to provide a context to the interaction and engagement which Hon. Sam Kutesa had with CEFC and its representative Dr. Patrick Ho which was in fulfillment of his official functions as President of the UN General Assembly.
It is therefore erroneous to insinuate or infer that Hon. Sam Kutesa, from references made to him and CEFC in the said media stories, is linked to the bribery allegations.
Amb. Patrick S. Mugoya
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