The Government of Uganda has returned €4 million of misappropriated aid funds in the Office of the Prime Minister to the Irish Government.
The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the repayment followed “intensive high level discussions with the Government of Uganda over the last two months”.
He welcomed the return of the money, saying it would contribute towards Uganda’s efforts to tackle corruption.
In a scandal that rocked Uganda last year, it was discovered that several employees in the office of the Prime Minister had diverted billions of money meant for the Peace, Recovery and Development Programme in Karamoja for their private use.
Although the Uganda Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi claimed ignorance of the theft, several investigations into the matter suggested that the money was spent on buying the Prime Minister luxury vehicles and reports also indicate that the First Lady, Janet Museveni was involved in the matter.
However, the matter has since been hushed up. The recent developments in the matter were set in motion with the trial of the chief suspect, embattled former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Kazinda set begin on Monday.
Unfortunately, the suspect failed to show up in court after claiming to be sick although he is currently remanded in Luzira Prison.
The Irish government is pleased with the return of the funds and promised to find another means to help the people in Uganda who need the funds.
“I have now instructed my officials to examine options for a possible programme of support for the people of Uganda during 2013,” Mr Gilmore said.
“Looking to the future, we stand ready to continue to work with the auditor general of Uganda in his efforts to root out corruption, strengthen financial controls, and build robust and transparent systems of accountability.”
Fine Gael TD and chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs Pat Breen said those who are supposed to benefit from Irish Aid funds should “not suffer as a result of this corruption”.