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Muhwezi escapes arrest, Mukula in jail

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd May 2007 03:00 AM

A combined force of Police and military personnel yesterday surrounded the residence of Maj.Gen. Jim Muhwezi in Kololo, an upper-class suburb of Kampala, to arrest the former health minister, only to find that he had travelled to the UK.

A combined force of Police and military personnel yesterday surrounded the residence of Maj.Gen. Jim Muhwezi in Kololo, an upper-class suburb of Kampala, to arrest the former health minister, only to find that he had travelled to the UK.

By Patrick Jaramogi
and Steven Candia


A combined force of Police and military personnel yesterday surrounded the residence of Maj.Gen. Jim Muhwezi in Kololo, an upper-class suburb of Kampala, to arrest the former health minister, only to find that he had travelled to the UK.

A similar operation to apprehend former state ministers Mike Mukula and Dr. Alex Kamugisha was successful.
Both were escorted to the Criminal Investigations Department by security personnel. They were later charged at Buganda Road Court with abuse of office and embezzlement and remanded in Luzira Prison.

Crowds jammed the court premised as some demanded that Muhwezi be produced as well.

The three have been implicated in the misuse of funds received by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

A total of sh1.6b was found not accounted for by the Inspector General of Government, as revealed by The New Vision on May 1.
A fourth suspect, former State House official Alice Kaboyo, has reportedly gone into hiding.

When the Police arrived at her house, they found that she had taken her child to school early in the morning and disappeared, leaving behind her mobile phone and her handbag.

As early as 5.30am, the Police cordoned off Muhwezi’s place and barricaded the road, diverting the traffic and barring pedestrians and journalists. Confusion followed as it emerged that the suspect was not at his residence.

The operation, which was led by Police Commissioner of Operations Godfrey Bangirana and the head of military intelligence, Col. Leopold Kyanda, was eventually called off at 10:30am after a thorough search of the house, witnessed by Muhwezi’s wife, Susan.
“I have finished my mission. If he was there, he would be with me but he is not there,” Bangirana said as he emerged from the house.

“Muhwezi could not be traced at his residence. His spouse informed the arresting officers that he had travelled abroad,” the Police spokesperson, Asan Kansingye, later said in a statement.
“Subsequently, the Police established that Muhwezi had earlier been cleared by the Speaker of Parliament to travel abroad and that he reportedly left the country on Monday in the early morning hours.”

The statement added that Muhwezi was expected to report voluntarily to the Police once he was back in the country.

Mukula was arrested at his residence in Bugolobi at about 7:45am by the Police and the military. He was escorted to the Criminal Investigations Department for interrogation, in the company of his wife.
Dr. Alex Kamugisha arrived at the CID headquarters shortly afterwards, equally escorted by a Police vehicle and accompanied by his wife.

Scores of friends, relatives and MPs visited them at CID. Patrick Amuria, the head of the Teso parliamentary group, argued that all those implicated in the misuse of funds should be prosecuted. “We believe all those who misappropriated the GAVI funds should be here, not just two of them. This is of great concern to all of us,” he said outside the CID headquarters.

Disaster minister Musa Ecweru, who said he would stand surety for Mukula in court, called for fairness during the court proceedings, while MP Henry Banyenzaki said the Government’s zero tolerance to corruption should not be applied selectively. “I hope the Government has started acting on all those involved in the misappropriation of funds,” he stressed.
A jovial Mukula flashed the NRM sign when at around 3:30pm the two former state ministers were brought under tight security to a charged and packed Buganda Road court.

According to the charge sheet, read by prosecutor Lillian Mwandah, Kamugisha was accused of abuse of office by unlawfully approving a sh11m proposal submitted by Dr. Nankinga Aidha in Bushenyi. The money, supposedly used to carry out immunisation activities, was never accounted for.

Mukula was accused, along with Muhwezi, of having approved over sh1b of GAVI funds “in total disregard of the laws and regulations governing the disbursement of public funds in the Republic of Uganda”. They were also charged with having approved and received sh263m.

Kamugisha looked stunned when the magistrate remanded them in Luzira Prison. “Let’s go,” Mukula urged him as they were led away by the Police.

Muhwezi escapes arrest, Mukula in jail

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