Uganda ex-health chief questioned10th October 2008
Authorities in Uganda are questioning the country's former health minister in connection with a bank robbery following his entanglement in a scandal surrounding funds intended for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and immunisation.
The enquiries have so far encompassed six suspects including a driver employed by former minister Jim Muhwezi, who already faces trial for embezzling the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria funds, a charge which he denies.
The MP for Rujumbura has been released on police bond after a seven-hour interrogation on allegations of aggravated robbery. Muhwezi is expected to re-appear at the criminal intelligence department head office in Kibuli for more interrogation, a police statement said.
The six are charged with assault for trying to steal US$500,000 from the Stanbic Bank in Kampala last week.
Muhwezi and his two deputies are charged with stealing US$1.63 million from Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, or GAVI. The scandal caused the initiative to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars from Uganda in 2005.
Muhwezi, who resigned from the health ministry in 2006, is an ally of President Yoweri Museveni and one of the original members of Museveni's National Resistance Army that came to power more than two decades ago.
He has blamed the scandal on the 'mismanagement' of funds at source, in Geneva, saying he is the victim of retaliation after he tried to blow the whistle on the problem.
Along with his former junior ministers Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha Muhwezi faces charges of mismanagement of billions of Global and GAVI funds meant for the treatment of Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and immunisation.
The trial has finally gone ahead following two years of a public inquiry ordered by President Museveni.
A commission, headed by Justice James Ogoola, was put in place to probe the mismanagement of the Global and GAVI funds in the ministry of health. It found the three ministers had cases to answer.
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Title: Uganda ex-health chief questioned
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 8714
Date Added: 10th Oct 2008