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Home >> World
UPDATED: 21:29, May 29, 2007
Uganda's former health minister detained over fund scandal
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Uganda's former health minister Jim Muhwezi, who was charged with abuse of office, theft and embezzlement of over 588,000 U.S. dollars of donor funds for immunization, has been remanded to prison.

In a move that took many by surprise, the high-profile politician presented himself to the Police earlier on Monday morning after he flew back from the United Kingdom for a medical check.

The former minister had flown to London when the Police raided his residence in the posh resident area of Kololo, Kampala, last Tuesday, raising speculations that he had fled the country.

"We were surprised when his lawyers called saying they were coming with their client to the CID headquarters today," Police spokesman Asan Kasingye was quoted by state-owned New Vision as saying on Tuesday.

Accompanied by his lawyers and his wife, Muhwezi spent nearly two hours at the CID headquarters before he drove to Buganda Road Court.

Muhwezi denied all the charges in court and later remanded to the Luzira Prisons in the Kampala suburb.

"Just as a formality, I want to inform you that you can seek bail before the High Court. You are remanded till June 6 for mention of the case," said Chief Magistrate Margaret Tibulya before adjourning the court.

His lawyers said they would seek bail immediately.

Two of Muhwezi's former aides, Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha, who were state ministers in the Health Ministry, were arrested a week ago for charges of abuse of office and embezzlement. They were released on bail last Friday, sparking overnight celebrations at Mukula's residence.

A fourth suspect, former State House employee Alice Kaboyo, turned herself in last Wednesday and is still on remand in Luzira. Her bail application is expected to be heard today.

The three and other officials have been implicated in the misuse of funds received from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a coalition of international donors.

The three former ministers are also being investigated for mismanagement of Global Fund money for the treatment of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Source: Xinhua

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