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UK sanctions Ugandan politicians over corruption claims

April 30, 2024

The sanctions target parliamentry speaker Anita Among and two former ministers for the Karamoja region who allegedly stole thousands of iron sheets from a government housing scheme.

The parliament of Uganda
The speaker of Uganda's parliament, Anita Among, was targeted by the sanctionsImage: Abubaker Lubowa/REUTERS

The United Kingdom imposed sanctions on three Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday, accusing them of corruption.

The three individuals were parliament speaker Anita Among plus two former ministers for the northeastern Karamoja region, Mary Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu.

Kitutu and Nandutu are accused of stealing thousands of iron sheets from a government-funded housing project aimed at helping vulnerable communities in the isolated Karamoja region, and redirecting them to politicians and their families.

The parliamentary speaker, Among, allegedly profited off the scheme, the UK said.

"The UK is sending a clear message to those who think benefiting at the expense of others is acceptable. Corruption has consequences and you will be held responsible," Britain's deputy foreign minister, Andrew Mitchell, said in a statement.

"The actions of these individuals, in taking aid from those who need it most, and keeping the proceeds, is corruption at its worst and has no place in society."

Why is Britain sanctioning overseas individuals?

The UK said it has sanctioned 42 individuals and entities under its Global Anti-Corruption scheme since it was set up 2021.

This includes individuals and entities from Russia, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Kitutu and Nandutu have been charged with corruption in Uganda and their cases remain before the courts.

However, a spokesperson for Uganda's parliament claimed the sanctions against Among were a response to anti-homosexuality legislation passed in Uganda.

"Uganda has regulatory, investigatory and disciplinary institutions that deal with corruption and none of them has found the speaker culpable, therefore; the corruption allegations are, as political and vendetta-driven, as they come," parliament spokesperson Chris Obore told the Reuters news agency.

zc/nm (Reuters, AFP)