Three Ugandan legislators charged with graft-related offences

Three MPs and two others charged with corruption

Kampala,

  Three Ugandan legislators have been charged with corruption-related offences, according to a charge sheet seen by Reuters on Saturday, as President Yoweri Museveni's government widens its crackdown on rampant graft among lawmakers.

MPs Michael Mawanda Maranga, Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi and Paul Akamba appeared in court late on Friday and were charged with "diversion of public resources," the charge sheet said.

They are all members of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

All three pleaded not guilty and were remanded to prison.

Stealing and misuse of government funds is widespread in the east African country and critics have long accused Museveni of turning a blind eye to corruption by top officials, who are politically loyal to him and his ruling party.

Prosecutors accused the three lawmakers of diverting about 3.4 billion Ugandan shillings ($908,605), to "purposes unrelated to that for which the resources were intended".

Additionally, the three suspects allegedly also "conspired to defraud the government of Uganda", the charge sheet said.

One of their lawyers, Caleb Alaka, complained in court that the suspects' constitutional rights had been violated.

Akamba had already been charged with corruption related-offences last week and remanded, along with two other lawmakers.

They were accused of attempting to influence the chairperson of the state-funded Uganda Human Rights Commission to inflate the organisation's 2024/25 (July-June) budget, in return for giving the lawmakers 20% of the inflated budget.