The Inspector-General of Government (IGG) has commenced preliminary investigations into allegations that the state minister for investment, Evelyn Anite, received a bribe from a Mauritian company.
The allegations were raised by a whistleblower in a dossier to the IGG, claiming that Anite received an unspecified amount of bribe money to help the company, based in the Indian Ocean island country, acquire the moribund Uganda Telecom (UTL).
The whistleblower’s letter was received by the Deputy IGG, George Bamugemereire, on August 14. The IGG spokesperson, Ali Munira, said Bamugemereire has since directed investigators to carry out preliminary inquiries regarding the claims before a decision can be taken to carry out a full-blown probe or drop the investigations.
“We are carrying out preliminary inquiries. At this stage, we usually want to find out if there is something that can be investigated or not. The IGG has sanctioned that,” Munira stated.
She explained that the inspectorate would know over a period of two or three weeks whether a comprehensive investigation should be pursued or not.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference at the finance ministry in Kampala yesterday, Anite dismissed the bribe allegations, saying they were sponsored by the people who sought to block an audit into UTL.
“I am ready to answer everything. I am ready for the IGG investigation,” she added.
Anite and the Secretary to the Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi, have been locked in a disagreement over the audit. Muhakanizi insisted that the audit can only take place if ordered by the court.
The High Court subsequently ordered the Auditor General to audit UTL, following an application by one of its creditors, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation. Anite had earlier ordered the Auditor General to conduct the audit, but Muhakanizi stopped it.
The whistleblower alleged that Anite traveled to Mauritius on August 4 from the US, through France, to meet officials at the Mauritian telecom company. The minister allegedly left Uganda for the US on July 15 for her graduation ceremony at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
She reportedly later traveled to Mauritius “suspiciously leaving her husband in the US”. It is alleged that Anite spent four days in the country, meeting Mauritius Telecom officials and flew back to the US and then back to Uganda.
The whistleblower does not provide any documentary evidence of when and how the bribe was delivered to Anite. It is alleged that she has reportedly acquired assets not commensurate with her income.
Asked if she made a trip to Mauritius from the US, Anite would neither deny nor confirm it. She instead asked if she was under a travel ban.
“Have you heard that I am under a travel ban? This mafia cartel is trying to intimidate me. I will continue fighting this war, to recover national assets from the hands of robbers,” Anite charge