Donors Freeze $300 Million in Aid over Corruption

Major donor nations froze at least $300 million in aid to Uganda meant to support the government’s budget from July through June 2013, citing corruption concerns, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The Newswires report cited Roberto Ridolfi, European Union ambassador to Uganda, saying in a statement that donors decided to cut the budget support for an initial period of at least six months to give the government “enough time to repay misappropriated funds.”

Uganda’s auditor general discovered in October a scam that showed at least $15 million was misappropriated by the prime minister’s office.

Reuters reported that Uganda’s government has said it is determined to punish all the officials involved in the theft of the money, which was meant to help fund the recovery of northern Uganda, a region devastated by two decades of civil war orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Fred Opolot, a Ugandan government spokesman, said to Newswires the aid cuts are “regrettable” considering that several government officials are already being prosecuted in connection with the thefts.

Uganda ranked 143rd out of 183 countries scored by the 2011 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, tying with countries such as Russia, Nigeria and Belarus. The next edition of the index is scheduled for release on Wednesday.

– WallStreetJournal

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