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Court documents show 3 Ugandan lawmakers facing corruption charges

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According to a charge sheet obtained by Reuters, three lawmakers from the ruling party in Uganda have been accused of corruption for attempting to persuade a rights organization to inflate its budget.

The nation in East Africa has a high rate of graft, but it rarely prosecutes high-ranking officials, particularly those connected to the long-reigning National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and President Yoweri Museveni.

Mutembuli, Paul Akamba, and Cissy Namujju Dionizia, the three parliamentarians, were accused of corruption late on Wednesday before Kampala’s High Court.

They were charged with trying to persuade the head of the publicly financed Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) to inflate the organization’s 2024–25 (July–June) budget in exchange for providing the legislators with 20% of the inflated budget, according to the charge sheet.

“Mutembuli, Akamba and Dionizia … solicited an undue advantage … by asserting that they were able to exert improper influence over the decision-making of the budget committee of parliament of Uganda to increase the UHRC budget,” the charge sheet said.

After entering not guilty pleas, the three were sent to a high-security facility. One of the accused’ attorneys, Asuman Basalirwa, told the judge that the allegations could not be “categorised as grave” and requested bail.

Judge Joan Aciro detained them until June 14, when they are scheduled to return for a decision on the bail application. Museveni claimed last week that he had nformation indicating certain legislators were working with government department representatives to inflate their budgets in return for a fee.

The government of Museveni has been under fire from the opposition for a long time for not prosecuting high-ranking officials for graft, claiming that political allegiance precedes accountability for public resources.

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Kenya’s Ruto sacks cabinet amidst protests in major win for protesters

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In response to pressure from widespread protests that have produced the greatest crisis of his two-year government, Kenyan President William Ruto dismissed his entire cabinet on Thursday, with the exception of the foreign minister.

After beginning peacefully, the youth-led demonstrations against the proposed tax increases descended into violence, resulting in at least 39 deaths during altercations with the police last month. A few protestors briefly invaded the parliament before Ruto decided against the new levies.

“I will immediately engage in extensive consultations across different sectors and political formations and other Kenyans, both in public and private, with the aim of setting up a broad-based government,” Ruto said in a televised address to the nation, adding that he would announce additional measures later.

In addition, he fired the attorney general but claimed that this had no bearing on the deputy president’s position.

Kenyans had been requesting significant cabinet changes, seasoned anti-corruption activist John Githongo told Reuters.

“Let us see what happens now if the new ministers deal with big issues around corruption and just the arrogance and excess of his administration and the fact that a lot of Kenyans died during the demonstrations,” he said.

“Hopefully this should temporarily calm things.”

Ruto finds himself torn between a beleaguered populace reeling from the rising expense of living and lenders like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pressuring him to reduce deficits. He suggested borrowing more money and cutting spending in approximately equal proportions last week to close the nearly $2.7 billion budget deficit left by the removal of the tax rises.

Although the government has no outstanding debt, many claim that Kenya is likely to miss its IMF targets as a result of the tax rollback. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, the estimated budget deficit is currently 4.6% of GDP.

Dismissing so many cabinet members, according to Ojango Omondi, a community organizer from the Social Justice Centers Working Group in Nairobi, was a “move towards justice,” but activists would want to see who Ruto chooses to replace them.

“It’s one thing to dismiss, the second is to ensure that the people that will be chosen in the cabinet are accountable to the constitution and the rule of law,” Omondi said.

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South Sudan’s president dismisses 6th finance minister since 2020

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Four months into the position, South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has fired the finance minister, the sixth person to hold the position since 2020, according to state-run television.

The report stated late on Wednesday that Kiir did not explain the dismissal of Awow Daniel Chuong, who was appointed in mid-March of this year. Economist Marial Deng has been selected to take over as finance minister in Kiir’s place.

Due to intercommunal violence, South Sudan’s economy has been under strain recently. Since the civil war that lasted from 2013 to 2018, revenue from crude oil exports has decreased, and more recently, export disruptions have occurred because of the conflict in neighbouring Sudan.

The governor of the central bank, James Alic Garang, declared in May that the foreign exchange reserves of South Sudan had reached all-time lows.

This year, the International Monetary Fund predicts that consumer price inflation will soar to 54.8%.

After South Sudan separated from Sudan in 2011, Kiir was elected as the country’s first president.

In December, the nation is scheduled to elect a president, members of the legislature, and regional delegates.

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