Museveni hunts corrupt execs as Saleh in-law features in $200m gold swindle

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Gen Salim Saleh's in-law has been cited in a massive corruption scandal at the mining industry

President Yoweri Museveni has promised to drive all corrupt officials out of government departments like Uganda Investment Authority [UIA], Ministry of Finance and National Environmental Management Authority [NEMA].

Museveni made the declaration on Tuesday while addressing the nation at Serena hotel in Kampala where he swore to punch these corrupt officials even out of his own office in State House.

The president was unhappy with the fact that Uganda still imports shoes, furniture, automobiles, motor-cycles, computers etc yet they can be produced locally.

He aims to transform idle youth into wealth creators and job creators and has so far spent Shs. 337 million in Najeera; Shs. 375 million in Katwe; and Shs. 271 million in Nsambya to aid youth.

Museveni promised to aggressively attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) that can move things faster.

“However, for the FDIs to flow in, we must purge out all the corrupt official in the UIA, in the Ministry of Finance, in NEMA, etc. If they are in state house, we shall punch them.”

He said these corrupt officials are the ones that have been delaying and frustrating investments.

“How shall we know them?  We shall know them by their fruits.  Their actions will tell us who they are.  You delay an investment for two days, we know who you are.”

Saleh’s in-law in middle of corruption infestation

Museveni’s remarks come on heels of a letter he wrote to the Inspectorate of Government demanding an investigation into Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] boss, Andrew Sseguya’s dirty dealings.

Sseguya is being probed for the theft of ivory, the illegal export of pangolins and killings in national parks as rangers fight over dubious deals.

A new report by Global Witness based in London cited ‘massive corruption’ at Uganda’s Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM), as quoted by Uganda Radio Network.

The report was released Monday after an 18-month investigation into activities of Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines housed under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, says businessmen, including a former government minister, Richard Kaijuka and Barnabas Taremwa the brother-in-law to Gen Salim Saleh, have been processing and exporting hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold.

The report suspects the mentioned individuals to be getting gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, as well as Uganda, paying little tax in the process.

The report says in one of the many examples of legal but exploitative tax avoidance, African Gold Refinery (AGR), whose employees have close links to top Uganda government officials, declared exports of gold worth over $ 200 million but paid only half a million dollars in tax.

Taremwa is quoted by the report to have revealed how he helped arrange the tax exemptions for AGR and setup supply routes for gold.

AGR, a 15-million-dollar refinery located in Entebbe, was early this year launched by President Museveni and Bank of Uganda data has since indicated that annual gold exports fluctuated between zero to just about $40 million in the period between mid-2009 and mid-2015.

The exports, however, later rose to $204 million in the financial year ended in July 2016.

Global Witness says it has discovered that it is routine for investors to pay certain Directorate employees a fee to ensure that mining applications meet all requirements.

It says two of Flemish Investments Limited former directors held positions at the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines at the time Flemish was applying for, and was granted, mining exploration licenses.

It says Flemish Investments acquired and entered into agreements to sell at least 21 mining licenses in two deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2007 and 2013.

Zachary Baguma, the principal geologist at Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines, was simultaneously employed as a director at Flemish during most of this period.

Baguma, according to the report resigned in December 2011, handing over the directorship to Joshua T. Tuhumwire, who had previously been a commissioner at the Directorate between April 1980 and June 2010.

Global Witness said some exploration licenses had been granted in protected wildlife areas, including in Bwindi national park which has the largest remaining mountain gorillas.

George Boden, the team leader at Global Witness in a statement said: “This evidence is damning – Uganda’s mining sector is built on a parallel economy that strongly favours abusive companies and corrupt elites over its people and environment. The appalling mismanagement of the sector will alarm investors, human rights advocates and environmental campaigners alike.”

Additional reporting by URN