Former FDC president and bush war combatant, Rtd Col Kizza-Besigye, says President Yoweri Museveni has made sure that his corrupt brother, Gen Salim Saleh, is well protected from blame and prosecution.
Besigye made the remarks while addressing FDC delegates from Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola in Kasana Luweero district on Thursday.
He told delegates that corruption in the current regime dates back to those days when he was still serving in the Ugandan army.
“At one time while in the army council, we discussed corruption. I told colleagues that we know each other. Before we talk about the general corruption, let’s start from this room. We know what everyone came with, their salary and businesses,” he told the council.
He says Museveni who was on the blackboard teaching said what Besigye was raising was irrelevant and he was jealous of his colleagues.
“I asked for leave for two years to go for Constituent Assembly. I never wanted to go back to the army.”
He quoted a case where Museveni wrote a letter to the Army Commander to investigate that he (Besigye) had helped businesses to evade taxes.
“General Muntu investigated and didn’t find me guilty and he reported back.”
Museveni then wrote to John Patrick Amama Mbabazi who was minister of Defense then to investigate the same matter and “he also found me innocent”.
Museveni again asked the Solicitor General to handle the same matter it was all in vain.
“I told Museveni in a meeting that why do you investigate me for all these times yet there is a person here everybody knows is corrupt (Salim Saleh) but you can’t investigate him.”
Saleh’s series of corruptions scandals
While still in the army, Salim Saleh ventured into private business becoming one of Uganda’s wealthiest businessmen, but also getting involved in several corruption scandals.
Uganda Commercial Bank
In 1998, Salim Saleh resigned from his post as presidential advisor, following allegations that Greenland Investments, a company in which he was a major stakeholder, had used the Malaysian company, Westmont, to illegally purchase shares in Uganda’s largest bank, the now defunct Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB).
Government of Uganda injected Shs 72b in UCB only to sell it at Shs 11bn.
According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Working Paper No. 72) “[t]he UCB controlled over 80 per cent of the commercial banking market and had 62 billion shillings of bad loans”.
After the government signed the sale agreement with the South African Standard Bank of Investment Corporation (Stanbic), media reported that the Museveni family might have been involved in the deal.
A report from a select parliamentary committee on privatization established at the end of the 1990s eventually accused the Minister for Privatization, Matthew Rukikaire, of mishandling the government’s divestiture of the UCB.
The report also alleged that General Salim Saleh, President Museveni’s brother, had engineered the improper takeover of 49 per cent of UCB shares through a firm in which he owned majority shares, Greenland Investments.
The report also detailed millions of dollars of unsecured loans lent by the UCB after the take-over, including USD 4 million to companies in which General Saleh was a director.
Museveni, later said he had sacked Salim Saleh, not for his involvement in the scandal, but for “indiscipline and drunkenness” in the army.
In 1998, Salim Saleh’s company purchased helicopters for the army, for which he received a commission of $800,000.
The helicopters turned out to be junk.
Involvement in Congo (DRC)
Salim Saleh was specifically implicated in a UN Security Council report for being involved in the illegal exploitation of natural resources from Congo (DRC) during the Second Congo War.
In March 2015, a report by a Parliamentary watchdog committee said Gen Saleh and his wife Jovia Saleh used Uganda Coffee House, APS, Denmark to fleece government of Shs3.2bn
It is reported that in August 2002, M/S Akiba, Gen Saleh’s firm tabled another request of $15 million (Shs28.5b) “to add value to the Ugandan coffee and promotion in Denmark”
According to Besigye, in the last election, Museveni himself picked Shs 2,000bn (2 trillions) from Bank of Uganda to buy the general election.
“All this was done to retain Mr. Museveni in power. This is the situation I will fight until the end.”
In his Eid-Ul-Fitr message, Besigye called upon Ugandans to “reflect on the injustices that have pervaded our country for long”.
“Now is the time for us to mobilize, organize and take action to stop perpetuators of impunity from their continued misdeeds,” he said.