Bribery saga: US opposes Ho bail as Museveni meets Guterres to save Kutesa

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UN Secretary General Gutteres, Kutesa, Museveni and UNHCR head with refugees in Kampala

On November 20, 2017, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against the head of the UN ECOSOC accredited China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) Patrick Ho and former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, accused together of bribing Chad’s President Idriss Deby — as well as, for Ho, of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda, since 2005, allegedly for the benefit of President Yoweri Museveni.

In advance of Ho’s next attempt at bail on February 5, the prosecution has in writing asserted that “since the Complaint was signed and Ho was arrested, the evidence of his guilt has only become stronger, as the Government has interviewed witnesses, executed search warrants (including for the Virginia office of the Energy NGO), and obtained documents from third parties.”

The prosecution’s letter cites the “President of the UN General Assembly (the “Ugandan Foreign Minister”).

Ho also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda (who is the Ugandan Foreign Minister’s relative), with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to let both officials share in the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and the officials’ family businesses.”

On January 27, 2018, after belatedly dropping CEFC from the UN Global Compact, UN chief Antonio Guterres met Museveni and Kutesa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the sidelines of the 30th AU Ordinary Summit.

On January 16, Guterres when asked why UN was not investigating the scandal told Inner City Press: “I will look into it… We don’t want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles.”

But a week passed, and nothing. On January 24, Inner City Press asked again. And on January 25, Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced, Matthew you’ve asked once or twice, the Global Compact has suspended China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC China Energy).

Guterres added: “In relation to other cases, I would like to say that I’m not aware of presence in the Compact or whatever. I will have to look into it. I will look into it. What is clear for me is that we don’t want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles that were defined in the constitution of the Compact. There is a code of conduct that is there, and that should be respected. So, I don’t know exactly what happened in the compact in that regard. I will look into that.”

In November, there was an indictment announced in Federal Court downtown of the head of an ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)-accredited NGO for bribing, allegedly bribing, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, to benefit the China Energy Fund Committee.

Ho’s lawyers said in court filing he would be asking to be released on bail in connection with his arraignment on January 8, and his argument included that he is the head of “UN recognized” NGO similar, Ho’s brief argued, to the American Bar Association, the Salvation Army and the World Jewish Congress.

But when Ho pleaded not guilty to the eight counts against him on January 8, his lawyers did not in fact pursue bail, and declined to comment after. (Sidewalk stakeout photo here, h/t) So, Ho remains in jail.

His lawyers’ filing, dated January 5, says Ho is “the leader of a non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations.

Kutesa

Kutesa remained foreign minister of Uganda WHILE he was President of the UN General Assembly; cursory research could have shown he began as foreign minister in 2005, not 2015.

The initial complaint has been turned in a full-fledged indictment, signed by the foreperson, that Ho offered bribed to the presidents of Chad and Uganda, and the foreign minister of the latter, Sam Kutesa, who was President of the General Assembly, to benefit the Energy Company.

And yet that benefited Energy Company – CEFC China Energy – remains in Antonio Guterres’ UN Global Compact, and Guterres has yet to order even an audit.

Contrary to the indictment which says Kutesa stepped down as Foreign Minister during his year as UN PGA, Inner City Press asked him on September 14, 2015 and Kutesa said, “I am still foreign minister.”

While the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, even after the indictment and Inner City Press’ public questions went forward on November 21 with CEFC’s money, in Kampala members of Parliament are calling for Kutesa to resign as foreign minister.

“President Museveni and Kutesa should resign and give Ugandans a chance to cleanse their country,” Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality MP, said.

Joining the call for resignation(s) are Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County), Nabilah Nagayi (Kampala Woman Representative), Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North), Monicah Amoding (Kumi Municality), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) and James Kaberuka (Kinkizi West).

Meanwhile the UN, implicated, cancelled Guterres’ photo op involving the CEFC money but went forward and used it, while the event remained on the schedule of Guterres’ Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, embroiled in a scandal involving the signing of 4,000 certificates for rosewood illegal logged in Cameroon and Nigeria and already in China.

The UN, increasingly, is corrupt. It is alleged that Chadian president Deby took bribes for oil concessions in Chad, and that 2014-15 UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa took bribes for oil concessions in Uganda.

Kutesa’s predecessor John Ashe died under indictment; the depths of the UN’s corruption extend into 2017 with the signing of dubious rosewood export certificates in Nigeria by Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and set-aside UN employment for the German Ambassador’s wife, via Guterres’ chief of staff.

Will it affect Museveni Burundi mediation?

President Museveni who is mentioned in the indictment is a mediator of the Burundi crisis.

UN Spokesman told Inner City Press:  “Well, regarding the question of Burundi mediation, obviously, he has a role separate and apart from the work of our envoy, Michel Kafando.”

He added: “You just heard a briefing from Mr. Kafando yesterday about what his work is on that.  Regarding Mr. Kutesa, we don’t have anything particular to say about his dealings as the Foreign Minister of Uganda.”

He went on: “Obviously, he has served as a General Assembly President, and we want to make sure that all officials of the UN, including the General Assembly President, abide strictly by norms avoiding corruption and bribery.”

Kutesa travelled as PGA to China as part of the scheme. Ho’s approach was through Kutesa’s chief of staff Arthur Kafeero, whom as Inner City Press exclusively reported in August 2015 Kutesa tried to plant in the UN’s Department of Political Affairs.

HO also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda, with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to share the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and businesses owned by the families of the Ugandan Foreign Minister and the President of Uganda.

These payments and promises were made in exchange for assistance from the Ugandan Foreign Minister in obtaining business advantages for the Energy Company, including the potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank.” We’ll have more on this.

Sam Kutesa had offshore accounts in the Seychelles, to receive funds from Enhas, a company of which despite the UN denying it to Inner City Press is listed as doing business with the UN’s mission in the Congo, MONUSCO.

The accounts, but not the UN / MONUSCO connection, have been revealed the leaked Appleby / Paradise Papers.

Source: Inner City Press

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