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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Pandora Papers: Ugandan Security Minister Denies Offshore Links

Maj Gen (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, Uganda’s security minister, reportedly owned interests in two shell firms based in tax havens the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Cyprus between 2015 and 2018.

Maj Gen Muhwezi, who denies any connection in the foreign firm, is listed as one of three shareholders of Audley Holdings Ltd, a British overseas territory in the Caribbean, in a cache of leaked company and financial documents.

Pandora Papers is a global reporting initiative organized by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington, DC.

The inquiry into the Pandora Papers reveals the global labyrinth of political influence and covert offshore finance.

The claimed certificate for his interests in Audley Holdings Ltd was executed on February 3, 2015, in the case of Maj Gen Muhwezi, who was re-elected a Member of Parliament in January before bouncing back to Cabinet.

Maj Gen Muhwezi was originally appointed minister of State for Primary Education in 1997, until being censured over corruption charges in April 2015. He assured his followers in April 2015 that he had been patient enough to be trusted by the President.

In 2006, he was re-appointed as Minister of Health, however, he was fired shortly after due to the GAVI controversy. He was arrested and put on trial, but he was later found not guilty.

In its comments to the BVI authorities, the legal firm Alcogal stated that it attempted to contact the company’s stockholders, including Maj Gen Muhwezi, but to no avail.

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Muhwezi also owned Sukari Loma Investment Holdings Ltd, created in Cyprus in 2013 through the offshore provider SFM.

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“The company provided “financial services,” Muhwezi wrote on a signed beneficial owner statement, adding that its funds came from salary savings and his hotel and radio stations. It was closed in 2015,” the story adds.

However, when ICIJ talked to him he feigned ignorance.

“I don’t know what you are talking about and I can’t make any reply,” Muhwezi said.

It’s not yet known whether Muhwezi’s source of income tucked away in offshore companies came from legal sources.

About the Pandora Papers

The Pandora Papers are a massive 2.94 terabyte leak of sensitive, financial, and legal information from 14 offshore service providers and corporations that set up and maintain shell companies and trusts in tax havens all over the world.

The Pandora Papers data dump includes papers from 14 offshore service providers, three of which are owned by former government officials. They have clients from more than 200 nations and territories and operate in jurisdictions such as Anguilla, Belize, Singapore, Switzerland, Panama, Barbados, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Seychelles, and Vietnam.

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