Paradise Papers: Sam Kuteesa speaks out on leaks that unmask his businesses abroad

Paradise Papers: Sam Kuteesa speaks out on leaks that unmask his businesses abroad
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Massive leak of secret documents called the Paradise Papers shared with news organisations worldwide show how world’s biggest businesses and leading politicians have sheltered their wealth in tax havens

In Uganda, one of the richest and most powerful men, Hon. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affair has said the leak of more than 13 million files among which he is named have some disparities.

And he acknowledged that he owned the offshore fund set up to benefit his daughter Ishta.

The revelations leaked by two offshore law firms and 19 secrecy jurisdictions showed that there was “one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest when it comes to paying tax” that also applies to poor countries like Uganda where the 90 per cent of the wealth is among an elite few.

He through help of Appleby started a holding company, that being Katonga Investment Limited. The funds came ENHAS, which is the Entebbe Handling Services.

The document revealed in the transaction was signed by fellow employees of Appleby, this being Malcolm Moller and Patrick Lee Mohin, they signed the company through 30th November 2012. Kuteesa was introduced by Justin Dibb. Dibb is a financial juggernaut who has taken part in deals on the African continent, as Chief Executive Officer of Allied Resources Limited and Managing Director of Dominion Petroleum Limited.

Mr. Kuteesa told Appleby that the purpose of the Trust was to separate his government income from “his personal assets and belongings.”

The Leaked information shows that the minister set up a Trust in the Seychelles, Mr. Kutesa set up Obuyonza Discretionary Trust and the Trust in turn held shares in another company, Katonga Investments Ltd, which Mr. Kutesa also created in the Island country said the Paradise Papers, a global investigation that reveals the offshore activities of some of the most powerful people and companies.

Mr. Kutesa said: “I did establish the that three companies (in Seychelles); that information is correct, but I abandoned that move. I have never done anything with it at all. I told Appleby (trustee) to close it so many years ago. I decided to register a company in Uganda, and I am paying taxes.”

There however nothing to show that the minister did anything wrong , although establishing a Trust in Seychelles would mean he tried to legally pay the least tax abroad, and possibly none in Uganda for Entebbe Handling Services or ENHAS  b which handles the lucrative ground handling services at Uganda’s only international airport, Entebbe.

All three companies are registered in Uganda with the Registrar of Companies though Uganda Revenue Authority cannot feed the public with their tax obligations. They deal in a range of services including aviation, groceries, tree planting, real estate, transportation, farming, import export and general trade.

URA boss Doris Akol says they requires time to “study” if the minister’s companies in Uganda are tax compliant.

Ishta Kuteesa

Ishta Kuteesa herself is a billionaire, the co-founder of the private limited logistics company in Uganda known as Kenlloyd Logistics and was also appointed by a German logistics company called DB Schenker as their country exclusive representative, a real estate dealer and also a majority shareholder of Pioneer Easy Bus.

His other daughter Charlotte Kutesa is married to General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of the President

On 4th March 1999, the Uganda non-partisan parliament censured Sam Kahamba Kutesa on five counts of corruption, abuse of office, threatening death to people working against his will, influence peddling and misconduct in a public office.

But thanks to his relationship with President Museveni, Sam Kutesa never resigned and the President never dropped him from cabinet.  Since then, he has risen from the then lower Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development to now the powerful Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he has held since 2005.

A local daily sometime back alleged that Mr. Kuteesa had 60 billion Uganda shillings lying idle on his account in Crane Bank. He was also implicated in the act of receiving a bribe of 17.5 million Euros an equivalent of 64 billion Uganda shillings from Tullow oil for oil exploration and production contracts.

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