Self-exiled minister Bakoko begs Museveni to return


Bakoru with Museveni in New York

Self-exiled former Uganda labour minister, Zoe Bakoko Bakoru, yesterday met President Yoweri Museveni in New York.

According to the presidential press secretary, Lindah Nabusayi, Bakoru met Museveni over her possible return to Uganda.

Bakoru fled the country, escaping an arrest over corruption allegations in the botched $225m of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) housing project.

Buganda Road Magistrate Margaret Tibulya in February 2007, issued arrest warrants for Bakoko, businessman Isabirye Mugoya and former NSSF managing director, Leonard Mpuuma after the trio defied court summons to respond to charges of causing NSSF to lose millions.

The then Inspector General of Government (IGG), Justice Faith Mwondha, in November 2005, the IGG submitted a 160-page report to President Yoweri Museveni, asking him to revoke a joint venture between NSSF and Mugoya Construction for the development of the 5,000 housing unit Nsimbe Estate project.

According to the IGG’s report, Bakoko received the agreement in the morning and approved it in the afternoon without consulting the Cabinet and the Attorney General.

Mwondha set Interpol on the suspects but Bakoru somehow managed to flee the country.

The prosecution claimed that while still a minister, she approved a private company to enter into a joint venture with NSSF, which caused NSSF to lose 4.7 million dollars.

Prosecution had accused Isabirye of offering $350,000 (then Shs 700m) to Leonard Mpuuma, the former NSSF managing director.

The money was meant to influence Mpuuma to allow NSSF enter into a joint venture with Isabirye’s company, Mugoya Construction Company.

Mpuuma pleaded guilty to causing financial loss and paid Shs 100m to NSSF.

Former NSSF board chairman, Geoffrey Onegi-Obel, who wasn’t lucky enough, got arrested and jailed.

In 2009, the IGG dropped charges of abuse of office on Bakoru.

In 2011, Museveni said on television that he had forgiven her but Bakoru never returned to the country.

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