A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how politically powerful and ultra-wealthy world over secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens-Ugandas National airport “owner” Sam Kuteesa is among the gang victims
Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister, and president of the United Nations General Assembly during its 2014-2015 session, Sam Kahamba Kutesa, is exposed among world politicians with offshore companies that avoid taxes named in “Paradise Papers” by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ].
Kuteesa “owns” Entebbe airport and a consortium of other businesses in Uganda archived under the NRM regime after the bush war.
Leaked data show;
Kutesa created the Obuyonza Discretionary Trust in the Seychelles in 2012. The trust held shares in the Seychelles company Katonga Investments Ltd. He created the trust, watched over its administration and was one of its beneficiaries.
Kutesa’s daughter, Ishta, also is listed as a beneficial owner as well as a future recipient of money from the trust. An internal Appleby document from 2015 reported that the company’s intended activities were “consultancy, investments, trading and airport services in Uganda.” The money for Katonga was to come from Enhas Uganda Ltd., another Kutesa entity, Appleby’s notes state. Kutesa has owned Enhas, a ground-handling service at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, since the 1990s.
In 1998, a Ugandan parliamentary committee named Kutesa and another co-owner in a report criticizing the privatization that helped create Enhas and led to its lucrative airport contract. The report concluded that the privatization had been “manipulated and taken advantage of by a few politically powerful people who sacrifice the people’s interests.”
As part of a periodic review in 2015, Appleby labeled Kutesa’s companies a “high risk,” given his political role and media reports of alleged corruption and bribery involving Kutesa. Kutesa told Appleby that the purpose of the trust was to separate his government income “from his personal assets and belongings.” In 2015, however, Appleby noted that the companies connected to the trust were dormant and that “it seems that nothing such is being done.”
Kutesa confirmed to ICIJ’s media partner in Uganda, The Daily Monitor, that he established the companies, but “I have never done anything with it at all. I told Appleby to close it many years ago.” He said he had registered a company in Uganda and is paying taxes. “I thought you could avoid, not evade, taxes but I found it was not practical, and unnecessary,” Kutesa told the Daily Monitor. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
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