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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 March 2006, 17:49 GMT
Ugandan minister denies HIV con
Aids information poster in Uganda
A Ugandan poster encouraging abstinence
Ugandan health minister Jim Muhwezi has denied involvement in the misuse of funds allocated to treat HIV and Aids.

After two days of testimony before a commission of inquiry, he said he had done nothing wrong and would not take any responsibility for the scandal.

He also rejected a call from the judge heading the enquiry to apologise.

Last year, the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria suspended its grants because of "serious mismanagement" of funds.

An investigation carried out for the Global Fund said it found a shortfall when grants in dollars were converted into Ugandan shillings.

Golf

The judge accused the minister of not taking responsibility for the unearthed malpractice.

The commission produced records of phone calls between Mr Muhwezi and a senior bank executive.

The calls coincided with the transfer of millions of dollars from the Global Fund to Uganda and their subsequent exchange into local currency.

The minister denied any involvement or discussion of these exchange rates. He said the calls were not about money but they were about golf as both men play the game socially.

"I don't posture. I am real. If anything went wrong in which I had a hand, I would take full responsibility," he told the panel.

Earlier this week the judge heading the commission accused a junior minister of hiding the truth.

Uganda has been held up as a model of how to fight HIV/Aids, with infection rates falling from 15% to 5%.

However, since then Uganda's anti-Aids campaign has been criticised, with some saying that under pressure from the US, it is concentrating on abstinence, rather than all three parts of its Abstinence, Be faithful and Condoms (ABC) strategy.


SEE ALSO:
Burma urges UN aid fund to stay
23 Aug 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Uganda's HIV success questioned
21 Sep 04 |  Africa
Uganda turns back the Aids tide
02 Dec 03 |  Africa


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