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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Ugandan 'Aids scam' trial begins
By Sarah Grainger
BBC News, Kampala

Jim Muhwezi
Jim Muhwezi is a close ally of Uganda's president
The trial of former Ugandan Health Minister Jim Muhwezi, accused of embezzling nearly $4.3m (2.15m), has begun in the capital, Kampala.

Retired Major-General Muhwezi and four former senior government officials are also charged with abuse of office.

They allegedly misused grants from the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunisations and the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The Global Fund halted $150m of grants to Uganda over misuse of the fund.

The judge announced he was adjourning their case until late October to allow a new prosecution team more time to study the evidence.

The case against all four follows investigations by the inspector general of government into alleged gross misuse of the funds given to Uganda.

Gen Muhwezi and his deputies, Captain Mike Mukula, Dr Alex Kamugisha and former state house official Alice Kaboyo, were first charged and released on bail in May this year.

Gen Muhwezi has long been a close ally of President Yoweri Museveni.

The BBC's Sarah Grainger in Kampala says many people are surprised that retired Major General Muhwezi is standing trial, as he has survived controversies in the past.

While state minister for primary education in the 1990s, he was questioned in parliament over his personal wealth, and eventually lost his ministerial portfolio.

Gen Muhwezi returned in 2001 as minister of health, but after investigations began into the fate of the Global Fund money granted to Uganda, he was dropped from cabinet.


SEE ALSO
Ugandan minister denies HIV con
22 Mar 06 |  Africa
Uganda 'mismanaging' Aids money
24 Aug 05 |  Africa
Uganda's HIV success questioned
21 Sep 04 |  Africa
Uganda turns back the Aids tide
02 Dec 03 |  Africa

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