US slaps sanctions against Kale Kayihura for Corruption and Abuse of Human Rights

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Gen. Kale Kayihura officiating at an event; File Photo

The former Inspector General of Uganda Police Gen. Kale Kayihura and his immediate family members will henceforth not be issued with US Visas, and their properties which he owns full or in part with others in US, or in the control of US persons have been blocked over corruption, human rights abuse, and bribery.

According to a statement released on Friday by the US Department of Treasury, the office of Foreign Assets Control accused Kayihura of having been a leader of a police force that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse against Ugandan citizens, as well as his involvement in corruption.

“We are targeting Uganda’s former police inspector general Kale Kayihura for using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses” said Sigal Mandelker Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

The statement further reads that as a result of this action, all property and interest of property of Kayihura, and of any entities that are owned directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by him alone or other designated persons, that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

Gen. Kale Kayihura, Uganda’s longest serving IGP (12 years) was sacked in March 2017 and replaced with Martin Okoth Ochola. US authorities say Kayihura was designated for being the leader of a police force that engaged in, or whose members committed serious human rights abuses and being a former government official responsible for, or a complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in corruption.

As the IGP for UPF, Kayihura led individuals from UPF Flying squad Unit, which has engaged in the inhumane treatment of detainees at Nalufenya Special Investigations Centre (NSIC).

“Squad unit members reportedly used sticks and rifle butts to abuse NSIC detainees and officers of NSIC are accused of having beaten one of the detainees with a brunt object to the point that he lost consciousness. Detainees also reported that after being subjected to the abuse, they were offered significant sums of money if they confess to their involvement in crime.”

“In addition Kayihura has engaged in numerous acts of corruption, using bribery to strengthen his political position in government of Uganda, stealing funds intended for official government business, and using other government employees to smuggle illicit goods, drugs, gold and wildlife out of Uganda.”

The US says human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form essential foundations of a stable, secure and functioning society; have a devastating impact on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate activities of dangerous persons; undermine economic markets.

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