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Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 17:09 GMT
Kampala welcomes fraudster ex-mayor

Kampala Kampala elected the former mayor by a large majority


A former mayor of Kampala received a hero's welcome as he returned to the Ugandan capital on Wednesday - having served a 15-month jail term for fraud in the United States.

Al Hajj Nasser Sebaggala was met at Entebbe Airport by a welcome party of political allies.

Dignitaries included the leader of his opposition Democratic Party, Paul Ssemogerere, and the current mayor of Kampala, John Ssebana Kizito - Sebaggala's former campaign manager who succeeded him as mayor after his arrest.


Al Hajj Nasser Sebaggala Al Hajj Nasser Sebaggala: Mayor for two months
Thousands of supporters gathered along the road linking Entebbe airport to Kampala, waving banana leaves, beating drums, whistling and holding posters bearing the former mayor's picture.

Several of his supporters who turned out to welcome him said they admired him because he had taken money from rich countries and brought it back to Uganda.

The former mayor was arrested in New York in June 1998, after serving only two months as mayor.

He was later convicted of eight counts in connection with bank fraud and the transfer of altered documents and cheques into the US.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison in February last year.

The US authorities said Sebaggala had been paroled in December, but his deportation had been delayed for administrative reasons.

Popular candidate

Al Hajj Nasser Sebaggala became the first directly elected mayor of Kampla in 1998, by beating two government-backed candidates.

Ssebaggala is reported to have announced his intention to become mayor once more, saying he would quit business to become a full time politician.

"Whatever risks involved for him, because of the support he has seen he cannot quit politics," said a supporter who waited for him at his father's home.

But he could face difficulties owing to Ugandan laws which bar convicts from running for public office.

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