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LIST: U.S sanctions Speaker Among, Magogo and six others over corruption, rights abuse

Eng Moses Magogo (L) the husband to Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Anita Among (R) - Photos/Courtesy

Washington, DC (U.S):- The United States Department Thursday announced fresh sanctions slapped against Speaker of Parliament Anita Among and seven other Ugandan officials barring them from entering the United States over reportedly “significant corruption and gross violations” of human rights.

The other officials include; Eng Moses Magogo, the FUFA President who is also Ms Among’s husband; Hon Amos Lugoloobi, the minister of State for Finance; Dr Mary Goretti Kitutu – former Minister of Karamoja Affairs; Hon Agnes Nandutu – also former Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs and former Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Peter Elwelu.

The U.S Department also sanctioned Ms Kitutu’s spouse Michael George Kitutu and Lugoloobi’s spouse, Evelyne Nakimera. Mr Magogo, Mr Kitutu and Nakimera were sanctioned because of the actions of their spouses.

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In this official statement released Thursday, May 30, 2024, the U.S. Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller stated; “Speaker of Parliament Anita Among is designated due to involvement in significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s Parliament.”

“All four officials (Ms Among, Ms Kitutu, Ms Nandutu, and Mr Lugoloobi) abused their public positions for their personal benefit at the expense of Ugandans,” he added.

Specifically, the Department noted that Peter Elwelu’s sanctioning was triggered by the extrajudicial killings that members of the UPDF committed under his command.

“As a result of these actions, the designated Ugandan officials are generally ineligible for entry into the United States,” the statement explained.

According to the U.S., the sanctioned officials are allegedly responsible for, or complicit in, the repression of Ugandan members of political opposition groups, civil society organizers, and vulnerable communities in Uganda.

The Department emphasized that it is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on several other Ugandan officials for undermining the democratic process and repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations in Uganda.

“The United States stands with Ugandans advocating for democratic principles, a government that delivers for all its citizens, and accountability for actions committed by those who abuse their position through corruption and gross violations of human rights.” Mr Miller stressed.

“Impunity allows corrupt officials to stay in power, slows the pace of development, facilitates crime, and causes unequal distribution of resources, which can affect underrepresented and underserved populations disproportionally.”

According to Mr Miller, the sanctions made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2024 (Div. F, P.L. 118-47) reaffirm the U.S. commitment to support transparency in Uganda’s democratic processes, counter corruption globally, and address the broader culture of impunity that prevents all Ugandans from enjoying their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The additional steps to impose visa restrictions on multiple other Ugandan individuals are being taken under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act under the policy Secretary Blinken expanded in December 2023.”

The sanctions against the seven Ugandan officials come in exactly a month after the United Kingdom last month on April 30, slapped sanctions against the Speaker and the two former ministers (Kitutu and Nandutu) over corruption-related charges in its first invoked the Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime.

“Specifically, Among, whilst Speaker of Parliament of Uganda and Member of Parliament for Bukedea District, is or has been responsible for or engaged in serious corruption,” the statement issued by UK on April 30, read in part.

In her reaction to the alleged charges, Speaker Among described the sanctions as “politically motivated” over her stance on homosexuality, especially the Anti-Homosexuality law and vowed not to back down.

It now remains to be seen if other countries from Europe, the United States and across the world will join the two superpowers in issuing travel bans and account freeze against the implicated officials.

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