Uganda: Labour Minister Granted Bail in Bribery Claim Case

File: Minister Kabafunzaki with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga at the celebration of his appointment at Kamwezi playground in Rukiga County on Friday, June 24, 2016.

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Uganda’s Labour Minister Herbert Kabafunzaki has been granted a cash bail of Ush 5million ($1,380) on Wednesday and his sureties bonded at Ush50 million ($13,800) in a case involving a bribery scandal.

Mr. Kabafunzaki who is also Rukuga County MP was arrested at the Serena Hotel in Kampala on Saturday.

The legislator is accused of soliciting money from the chairman of the AYA Group of Companies Mohammed Mohammed Hamid, to help the Sudanese investor settle a labor dispute involving one of his staff.

Mr. Hamid is said to have tipped off the police about the “minister’s unusual demand,” leading to the legislator’s arrest on Saturday.

Mr. Kabafunzaki is said to have directly solicited Ush15 million [$4,140] from Mr. Hamid.

Anti-corruption court

The legislator first appeared before Magistrate Agnes Alum at the anti-corruption court Monday evening where two counts of graft were read against him.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded to Luzira prison until Wednesday when his plea for bail was heard.

The MPs personal assistant Brian Mugabo was convicted after he pleaded guilty.

The charge sheet reads: “Hon. Kabafunzaki Herbert on the 8th day of April 2017 at the Serena Hotel in the central division of Kampala while in the performance of his duties as a minister of state for Labour, employment and industrial relations, directly solicited Ush15 million [$4,140] as a gratification from Mohammed Mohammed Hamid in exchange for clearing the name of the said Mohammed Mohammed Hamid from allegations of sexual harassment by his former employee.”

AYA Group

The AYA Group is behind the development of a hotel on Nakasero Hill.

The Group recently announced that it had reached an agreement with international chain, Carlson Rezidor Group to run the hotel on one of Kampala’s most imposing hills, just behind the Nakasero State House.

Mr. Kabafunzaki’s arrest followed closely that of two Ministry of Finance officials who were alleged caught receiving a bribe of Ush1.8 billion ($0.5 million) from an investor at the Ministry headquarters.

While the two incidents are not related, supporters of President Yoweri Museveni are touting them as evidence of the Ugandan leader’s pledge for zero tolerance to corruption in what he has called Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo or the term of serious business.