Speaker Among has houses in London, British ambassador tells Museveni

10 May 2024

KAMPALA. The British High Commissioner in Uganda has told President Yoweri Museveni that Speaker Anita Among has houses in London.

 On April 30, the United Kingdom announced its first-ever corruption-related sanctions against Uganda, targeting Ms Among, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu, and Ms Agness Nandutu, both former ministers responsible for the restive mineral-rich Karamoja region. The sanctions consist of travel bans and asset freezes.

Britain’s deputy foreign minister, Andrew Mitchell, said in a statement that Kitutu and Nandutu stole a significant quantity of iron sheets from a government-funded housing initiative intended to aid vulnerable communities in Karamoja. Among was said to have benefitted from the stolen materials.

President Museveni wrote in a May 2 letter that was made public for the first time on Friday (May 10) that he met the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Kate Airey OBE, hours before the sanctions were announced.

“The meeting was at Nakasero but I was on my way to Entebbe for other meetings. I, therefore, did not have time to discuss with anybody the issue. 

The High Commissioner told me that they intended to sanction the Honorables; Kitutu and Nandutu for their roles in the mabaati (iron sheets) issue.

” I would like, by the copy of this letter to ask the Attorney-General the legality of this action since this is a purely internal matter for Uganda,” Museveni wrote adding “The alleged theft was discovered by our agencies and the Uganda courts are handling the case. The accused are not yet convicted. How do other countries come into the matter? Attorney-General advise,” Mr Museveni writes in the letter.

In the latter, the president says he was told the Speaker owns a house or houses in the UK and bank accounts through which she has been wiring school fees to students in the UK.

“Why would a Ugandan leader build or buy houses in the UK or anywhere else abroad, when Uganda, the still under-developed country where she would have earned the money, still needs those investments? It would definitely be a moral and ideological mistake,” Mr Museveni writes in the letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen Jeje Odongo, and copied to the Speaker, the IGG, the Minister of State for Integrity, and the Attorney General.

According to the president, the issue of houses would be “very interesting” if, especially, Ms Among did not declare them in her Leadership Code documents. 

“If she had declared them, then the next issue would be how she got the money to build them. If these two are answered correctly and showing no mistake, the remaining issue would be political, ideological judgment,” he said.

 The president reportedly told Ms Airey that the Uganda Government would demand from the UK Government more information about this. 

He said the attorney-General and Ministry of Foreign Affairs would advise on how this can be done and the appropriate authority to go ahead and do it.

 Meanwhile, Museveni wrote, “by the copies of this letter, I request the Inspector General of Government (IGG) and Minister of Integrity to inform me if the Rt. Hon. Anita Among declared in her forms of the Leadership Code her owning of a house or houses in the UK”.

On the issue of bank accounts  Museveni told the High Commissioner ” it may not be a serious issue if she sent legitimately earned money to support the children who are studying there”.

During a May 3 plenary session, Ms Among claimed the sanctions stemmed from her opposition to homosexuality. She linked them to her role in presiding over the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was later signed into law by President Museveni.

The Speaker downplayed the sanctions, stating that she neither owns property in the UK nor desires to travel there. She emphasized her loyalty to Uganda and dismissed the accusations.

“I am told [that] I have so many assets in the UK and lots of accounts in the UK. Unfortunately, I have only been in the UK once. I don’t even have a pussycat in the UK. I have always said that I have a permanent passport to Bukedea and Buyende districts. I don’t need a visa to UK. So, honorable members, you need to be very firm and fight for your position. Just imagine it is your kid who is being sodomized. I have interacted [with some officials] and we have gotten to know what the sanctions are about. At an appropriate time, the Head of State will also respond to it because it is an indictment on the Parliament of Uganda,” she said.

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