Monday, May 28, 2007


Ex-Uganda health minister charged
By Sarah Grainger BBC News, Kampala

Jim Muhwezi cannot apply for bail until Tuesday. Uganda's former Health Minister Jim Muhwezi has been charged with embezzlement and abuse of office.
He presented himself voluntarily to police on Monday after arriving back in the country and denied the charges.
Three other former officials were arrested and charged last week, but retired Major General Muhwezi was in the UK at the time.
The charges against all four relate to the alleged gross misuse of a $4.3m fund for children's vaccinations.
Gen Muhwezi is to spend the night in custody as he cannot apply to the High Court for bail until Tuesday.
He left Uganda a week ago, saying he needed medical treatment in London.
That was just a day before his two former colleagues, Captain Mike Mukula and Dr Alex Kamugisha, were arrested and charged with embezzlement and abuse of office.
Former state house official Alice Kaboyo was also arrested and charged last week.
The other three also denied the charges.
The case against all four follows an investigation by the Inspector General of government into the alleged gross misuse of a $4.3m immunisation fund given to Uganda by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi).

Uganda has been praised for its fight against Aids. But the three former ministers have also been implicated in the mismanagement of money granted to Uganda by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Investigations into that issue are continuing.
Many people in Uganda have been surprised that Gen Muhwezi has been pursued so vigorously over the Gavi issue.
He has long been a close ally of President Museveni who has survived controversy in the past.
While state minister for primary education in the 1990s, he was questioned in parliament over his personal wealth, and eventually lost his ministerial portfolio.
He bounced back in 2001 as minister of health, but after investigations began into the fate of the Global Fund money granted to Uganda, he was dropped from cabinet.
Now he will have to answer questions in court.



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