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Former Ugandan vice president remanded over corruption

Posted on Monday, 3 October 2011 16:25

Former Ugandan vice president, Professor Gilbert Bukenya, has been remanded in custody on allegations of corruption and misuse of public office, dividing opinion about the motives of his arrest.

Some claim there is a political conspiracy behind the incarceration of Bukenya, who was vice president from 2003 until this May until he was dropped following the recent presidential elections, while others see it as government’s commitment to the fight against corruption.

A spokesman for the Judiciary in Uganda, Erias Isawuzi, said Bukenya had been today charged by the anti-corruption court and remanded to Luzira Prison Bukenya first appeared in a magistrates’ court some months ago and was granted bail pending investigations.

“It is a court procedure. He has been on court bail.

The bail has lapsed today, as he was committed (to the prison),” Kisawuzi said. “He is free to apply for bail.”

Charges against Bukenya stem from allegations that he misused his office during preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007, when he headed the ministerial committee for the preparations for the summit.

He reportedly awarded a vehicle procurement tender to Motor Care, without going through tender, as required by legal procedure.

Bukenya is the first high ranking official to be charged with corruption.

“At least we can see the government is trying to fight corruption,”‘ William Opendi Wacha said.

But a supporter for the incarcerated former vice president, Leonard Mbidde Kika claims the arrest was a sure sign of a political witch hunt.

“Bukenya is being witch-hunted because, since ceased being vice president, he has been critical of the government,” he said.

“They have been unfair to him.”

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