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28 April 2017
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A judicial report released yesterday into the looting of the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) natural resources cleared Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni but recommended that action be taken against some senior military officers.

In the report, the product of a judicial commission of enquiry headed by UK judge David Porter, Ugandan army commander Major General James Kazini was singled out for criticism over his activities when he led Uganda's forces deployed in the eastern DRC.

The forces were there to back rebels who rose up against Kinshasa in 1998.

"We shall follow the recommendations of the commission to the letter and all those mentioned will be dealt with in accordance with the law," Foreign Affairs Junior Minister Tom Butime said.

The report recommends tough measures against several army officers, adding that allegations made by a panel of UN experts about Kazini were correct.

"This officer (Kazini) has shamed the name of Uganda, and this commission recommends that disciplinary action against him be taken by the relevant authority," the report said.

"This commission has found a number of areas in which the allegations against General Kazini are soundly based in evidence," it added.

Museveni, who had been mentioned by the UN report, was however exonerated in the judicial report along with his son Major Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Ugandan army as a whole and the state of Uganda.

But his brother, General Caleb Akandwanaho, also known as Salim Saleh, and Saleh's wife Jovia were implicated in dealing that plundered the natural resources of the DRC.

Kazini and Jovia stand accused of smuggling diamonds and the army chief of having using his position to help companies that were smuggling DRC's resources such as timber and gold.

The commission unearthed a radio message by Kazini to his commanders instructing them that any payment for security services should be paid through himself, in violation of Museveni's instructions.

It said diamonds from northeast DRC were smuggled into Uganda through the military air base at Entebbe and flown to Belgium.

"This commission recommends that the deliberate and persistent indiscipline by General Kazini and his senior officers throughout the DRC as revealed by Kazini's radio message should be investigated urgently and disciplinary action taken," the report said.

Butime said that the government agreed with 95% of the recommendations by the committee and there were some areas that needed further analysis and agreement.

"The government's official response to the report will be released today," Julius Onen, the acting Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Ministry said. – Sapa-AFP.
Edited by: laurian clemence
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