Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has spoken out on media reports that the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, has been named in a corruption scandal being investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
The statement issued on Wednesday rubbishes reports that Kutesa is linked to the bribery schemes that were revealed on Monday.
Below is the statement
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda would like to respond to stories in the media associating Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sam Kutesa, to an ongoing case involving an official of China Energy Fund Committee, Dr. Patrick Ho and a former Foreign Minister of Senegal, recently arrested in New York on allegations of bribery.
In the course of his work as President of the General Assembly (PGA) of the United Nations during its 69th Session in 2014 – 2015, Hon. Sam Kutesa interacted and engaged with numerous organizations including, civil society, media and private sector. This engagement, a role undertaken by all the Presidents of the General Assembly, is necessary for promoting the core objectives of the UN in the areas of development, peace and security as well as human rights.
One of the key priorities that Hon. Sam Kutesa focused on as PGA was the post-2015 development agenda. It was during his tenure that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was negotiated and concluded. The PGA convened a number of High-Level Thematic Debates, including one on mobilizing means of implementation for the post-2015 Development Agenda.
Working closely with the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), he engaged with a number of Non-Governmental Organizations which have consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
These organizations regularly participated in events and activities organized by the PGA in areas of sustainable development, particularly on gender and women empowerment, youth, energy and climate change. One such organization, which was recommended by UN DESA, was the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) which has consultative status with ECOSOC.
It should be noted that CEFC’s collaboration with the UN, predated Hon. Sam Kutesa’s tenure as PGA and has continued with successive PGAs. The organization, together with UN DESA had an initiative in which CEFC sponsored a UN Energy Grant. The grant provided US $ 1 million to fund energy-related sustainable development programs, awarded to individuals, institutions, or partnerships for achievements, leadership, and innovation in advancing energy for sustainable development.
The PGA participated as a member of a High-level Steering Committee responsible for the selection of candidates for the UN Energy Grant. The Advisory Council was chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for UN DESA.
Together with then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Hon. Sam Kutesa presented the inaugural award of “Powering the Future We Want” Grant to We Care Solar, on September 14, 2015, in recognition of its solar power kit for health clinics in a lightweight, durable, and affordable package. The award ceremony was also attended by Dr. Patrick Ho representing CEFC.
The Ministry is providing this background to provide a context to the interaction and engagement which Hon. Sam Kutesa had with CEFC and its representative Dr. Patrick Ho which was in fulfillment of his official functions as President of the UN General Assembly.
It is therefore erroneous to insinuate or infer that Hon. Sam Kutesa, from references made to him and CEFC in the said media stories, is linked to the bribery allegations.