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UK sanctions corrupt politicians in Uganda who stole from vulnerable communities

  • UK imposes sanctions on Ugandan politicians including the Speaker of Parliament following corruption charges for stealing from the poorest communities in Uganda. 
  • This is the first time the UK has used the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime on individuals involved in corruption in Uganda.
  • New sanctions are part of the UK’s continued effort to crack down on serious corruption around the world.  

Deputy Foreign Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, has announced sanctions on high profile Ugandan politicians charged with corruption, and the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, today (30 April). 

It is the first time the UK government has used the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime on individuals involved in corruption in Uganda.  

The three individuals, two of whom were previously ministers responsible for Uganda’s poorest region, Karamoja, and have been charged with corruption at Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Court, will be subject to travel bans and asset freezes. 

The two former ministers sanctioned – Mary Goretti Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu – stole thousands of iron sheets used for roofing and infrastructure from a Ugandan government-funded project aimed at housing some of the most vulnerable communities in the region, providing them to prominent politicians and their families instead.

The Speaker of the Parliament, Anita Annet Among, benefited from the proceeds.

Over 60% of people in Karamoja live in poverty and many suffer from the devastating impacts of drought and insecurity.

 Deputy Foreign Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said:  

The actions of these individuals, in taking aid from those who need it most, and keeping the proceeds, is corruption at its worst and has no place in society. The Ugandan courts are rightly taking action to crack down on those politicians who seek to line their own pockets at their constituents’ expense. 

Today the UK is sending a clear message to those who think benefiting at the expense of others is acceptable. Corruption has consequences and you will be held responsible.

 The three individuals sanctioned:  

  • Anita Annet Among, who has been the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda since 2022.
  • Mary Goretti Kitutu, who was the Minister for Karamoja Affairs between 2021 and 2024.
  • Agnes Nandutu, who was the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs between 2021 and 2024.  

These measures follow previous UK sanctions under the Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime, which has targeted individuals involved in serious corruption cases across the world, including Bulgaria, Lebanon, Moldova, Russia, South Africa, South Sudan, and Venezuela. 

Since its introduction in April 2021, the UK has introduced sanctions on 42 individuals and entities under this regime globally to combat corruption across the world. 

Background

  • An asset freeze prevents any UK citizen, or any business in the UK, from dealing with any funds or economic resources which are owned, held or controlled by the designated person and which are held in the UK. It will also prevent funds or economic resources being provided to or for the benefit of the designated person or entity 

  • A travel ban means that the designated person is an excluded person under section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971, and must be refused leave to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom (any leave given to a person who is an excluded person is invalid). 

  • Under the UK’s Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regulations 2021, individuals and entities anywhere in the world can be sanctioned for their involvement in bribery or misappropriation of property involving a foreign public official.  

  • This could include those who facilitate, profit from or try to cover up serious corruption, as well as making efforts to prevent authorities from carrying out justice for these actions. 

  • UK Aid was not involved in the Ugandan Government project.