US sanctions speaker Among, hubby Magogo over corruption

Speaker Anita Among

The United States has sanctioned Uganda’s speaker of parliament Anita Among and former Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu.

Also sanctioned are former ministers for Karamoja Mary Gorreti Kitutu, Agnes Nandutu, and current minister of state for Finance Amos Lugolobi.

The announcement was made in a statement issued today Thursday by the United States Department. The US government has also designated Among’s spouse, Moses Magogo Hassim, who is the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) president, Kitutu’s spouse, Michael George Kitutu; and Lugolobi’s spouse, Evelyne Nakimera; they also are generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

“Speaker of parliament Anita Among is designated due to involvement in significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s parliament. All four officials abused their public positions for their benefit at the expense of Ugandans,” US sanctions read in part.

Whereas Among, Lugolobi, Nandutu, and Kitutu are designated for corruption and abuse of office, Elwelu, who is currently serving as presidential advisor on security, has been sanctioned over commanding UPDF that participated in alleged extra-judicial killings.

“Additionally, Peter Elwelu, former deputy chief of the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), is designated due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights. Specifically, Peter Elwelu was involved, while commanding UPDF forces, in extrajudicial killings that were committed by members of the UPDF. As a result of these actions, the designated Ugandan officials are generally ineligible for entry into the United States,” US further explains.

Elwelu while UPDF 2nd Division commander led an assault on the palace of Rwenzururu kingdom in Kasese, leaving more than 150 people killed while over 200 were arrested and detained for more than five years.

The US said the designations against the four individuals are meant to show solidarity with Ugandans advocating for democratic principles, a government that delivers for all its citizens, and accountability for actions committed by those who abuse their position through corruption and gross violations of human rights.

The US also said that it is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on multiple other Ugandan officials for undermining the democratic process and repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations in Uganda. 

It also said that the sanctions reaffirm its commitment to support transparency in Uganda’s democratic processes, counter corruption globally, and address the broader culture of impunity that prevents all Ugandans from enjoying their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Last month, the United Kingdom also announced sanctions on Among, Kitutu, and Nandutu over corruption. Among, according to the UK has utilized resources dubiously accrued from Uganda using her position to make investments including buying a house in the UK.

However, Among told parliament that she was not bothered by the sanctions and that she did not even own a pussy cat in the UK.  She went on to urge the UK to respect other countries’ values and cultures. 

The four politicians have joined a long list of Ugandan officials sanctioned by the US such as former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen Edward Kale Kayihura, former Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) commander, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, Uganda Prisons Commissioner Dr Johnson Byabashaija.  

Full statement

The Department of State is publicly designating five current and former Ugandan officials for their involvement in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among is designated due to involvement in significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s Parliament. Former Minister of Karamoja Affairs Mary Goretti Kitutu, former Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu, and Minister of State for Finance Amos Lugolobi are being designated due to their involvement in significant corruption related to conduct that misused public resources and diverted materials from Uganda’s neediest communities.  All four officials abused their public positions for their personal benefit at the expense of Ugandans.

Additionally, Peter Elwelu, former Deputy Chief of the Ugandan Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), is designated due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights.  Specifically, Peter Elwelu was involved, while commanding UPDF forces, in extrajudicial killings that were committed by members of the UPDF.  As a result of these actions, the designated Ugandan officials are generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Department is also taking steps to impose visa restrictions on multiple other Ugandan officials for undermining the democratic process and repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations in Uganda.  These individuals are responsible for, or complicit in, the repression of Ugandan members of political opposition groups, civil society organizers, and vulnerable communities in Uganda.

The United States stands with Ugandans advocating for democratic principles, a government that delivers for all its citizens, and accountability for actions committed by those who abuse their position through corruption and gross violations of human rights. 

Impunity allows corrupt officials to stay in power, slows the pace of development, facilitates crime, and causes unequal distribution of resources, which can affect underrepresented and underserved populations disproportionally.  Today’s actions reaffirm the U.S. commitment to support transparency in Uganda’s democratic processes, counter corruption globally, and address the broader culture of impunity that prevents all Ugandans from enjoying their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

These public designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2024 (Div. F, P.L. 118-47).  The Department is also designating Among’s spouse, Moses Magogo Hassim; Kitutu’s spouse, Michael George Kitutu; and Lugolobi’s spouse, Evelyne Nakimera; they also are generally ineligible for entry into the United States.  The additional steps to impose visa restrictions on multiple other Ugandan individuals are being taken under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act under the policy Secretary Blinken expanded in December 2023.

Source: The Observer

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