Museveni Aide's U.K. Money Laundering Charge
A Home Affairs spokesperson declined comment on Tumukundeâ€™s case but says U.K. officials are now more alert with respect to Ugandans traveling here on diplomatic passport: â€œThis is not an isolated or one-off incident
[International: Money Laundering Charges]
An advisor to Uganda’s president has been arrested on money laundering charges in London, and faces 56 years imprisonment if convicted on all charges, The Black Star News has learned.
Ananias Tumukunde, Secretary to President Yoweri Museveni on Science and Technology was arrested April 2 by British security forces. His next court appearance is May 2 here in London.
Tumukunde was arrested with more than $200,000 in his possession. U.K. authorities have clamped down on money laundering since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Members of a Uganda organization that says its supporters are determined to root out corruption in the East African country tipped off the U.K.’s law enforcement agency, Scotland Yard, about Tumukunde’s U.K. trip, The Black Star News has learned.
“Uganda had tried to bail him out before the public learned about this, but with the help and support of some big officials, they failed to block or conceal our effort,” one member of the group who asked that his name not be revealed for fear of compromising its effectiveness, told The Black Star. He said the group has fat files with the names of other Uganda officials.
"We shall do everything to see that they are arrested and prosecuted wherever they take the country's resources. The courts here are not easily manipulated as the case in Uganda.”
Tumukunde made a brief court appearance before Horseferry Road Magistrates on April 5, when his bail application was rejected. “There are possibilities of absconding the bail and there were no credible sureties,” a court official said.
If he is convicted on the four separate charges and his sentences do not run concurrently, he could face 56 years behind bars; otherwise he would face 12 years.
Uganda’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Joan Rwabyomere, declined to comment. “You can get the comment from my headquarters,” she said, referring to Uganda’s foreign affairs ministry in Kampala.
Fox Odoi, a top legal advisor to President Museveni, who was in London on other business could not be reached for comment.
Tumukunde was travelling on Uganda diplomatic passport. Earlier this year, Rose Rosalind Birungi, an aide to Gen. Salim Saleh, a brother to President Museveni and minister for micro finance was sentenced to 12 years after her conviction in a U.K. court on drug smuggling charges. She too had travelled on diplomatic passport.
A Home Affairs spokesperson declined comment on Tumukunde’s case but says U.K. officials are now more alert with respect to Ugandans traveling here on diplomatic passport: “This is not an isolated or one-off incident, we now suspect most of these diplomatic passport holders from Uganda and there is considerable scrutiny in all their dealing on the UK territories.”
Tumukunde is known internationally and has travelled all over the world to appear at major science and technology shows and gatherings.
Investigative news reporter Miwambo covers Europe for The Black Star News. Reach him with credible news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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